Overwhelmed with tomatoes from your garden – and tired of making tomato sauce and salads? Then it’s time to make this easy Green Tomato Ketchup recipe!
Even if you’ve never canned tomatoes before, you should try making this Green Tomato Ketchup Canning recipe.
It’s not as hard as you think! After all, there’s nothing like enjoying the benefits of your garden year round by canning your tomatoes.
Since I was new to canning tomatoes, I decided to make green ketchup since it was easy to do. I was overjoyed at how well my first batch of green ketchup turned out.
Green Tomato Ketchup is very sweet and mild, almost like an apple sauce rather than a red tomato ketchup.
I’ve tried it everything from eggs to fish sticks to sweet potato fries. Terrific!
How to can green tomatoes to make green ketchup
For food safety, it’s very important that you add bottled lemon juice to this Green Tomato Ketchup recipe. Do not use fresh lemon juice as it is not acidic enough.
Bottled lemon juice will give the green tomato ketchup enough acidity to avoid any issues with Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which is a deadly neurotoxin.
You can read about it on this PDF from the University of Wisconsin.
They recommend 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice per quart. Since my Green Tomato Ketchup recipe makes 2 quarts, I added 4 tablespoons.
Due to my food sensitivities to honey, I used agave nectar to sweeten my Green Tomato Ketchup recipe. Any variety of agave is fine (light, dark, etc.)
Feel free to use honey if you like.
Some tomato canning guides and supplies to help you make Green Tomato Ketchup
If you’re new to canning tomatoes, here are some books to help you get started!
● Ball Complete Book of Canning and Preserving. I have this one and it’s perfect for beginners.
You can download USDA Publications on home canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Canning equipment needed to make Green Tomato Ketchup
Don’t have any canning equipment? The Ball Enamel Water Bath Canner comes with a 21-quart capacity enamel waterbath canner, chrome plated rack and Ball Utensil Set.
It comes with a polypropylene rack and lifter, some jars, and a recipe book. I have this lifter and it works great!
I also love these labels because they're super easy to get off when you're washing the jars.
Finally, don’t forget to buy a case of 8-ounce Ball Jar Crystal Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands.
If you’re making Green Tomato Ketchup as a homemade gift, the small jelly jars are so adorable and perfect for gift giving.
- 6 pounds green tomatoes
- 3 pounds onions
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons mixed pickling spices
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (do not used fresh juice as it's not acidic enough)
- 3/4 to 1 cup agave nectar (I used raw agave. Any type is fine.)
- Slice green tomatoes and onions. Place in a large pot with pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Put the mixed pickling spices in a small cheesecloth bag and add to the tomato mixture.
- Pour cider over mixture.
- Cook for four to six hours over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bag of pickling spices.
- Puree mixture with a wand blender or in a food processor or blender.
- Strain tomato mixture through a mesh strainer.
- Return to pot and bring to boil.
- Add lemon juice and 3/4 cup of agave and stir until dissolved. Using a clean spoon, take a taste. If you feel the ketchup is sweet enough, stop. If not, add another 1/4 cup of agave nectar. Remember to use a clean spoon every time you taste test.
- Immediately fill six sterilized jelly jars with green tomato ketchup, leaving 1/4-inch head space.
- Wipe the jar tops and threads clean with a clean paper towel. Place hot sealing lids on the jars and apply the screw on rings loosely.
- Process in boiling water bath in a deep canning pot for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
- Remove the jars and cool completely. Tighten the jar screw rings to complete the sealing process.
- After the jars of green tomato ketchup cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, your green tomato ketchup didn’t seal and must be refrigerated.
- Let jars of green tomato ketchup stand at room temperature 24 hours. Don’t forget to apply a dated label!
- Store unopened product in a cool dry place up to one year. Refrigerate green tomato ketchup after opening.
- Serving size: 1 tablespoon
Originally posted October 27, 2011. Updated with new photos.
Bottle photo credit: Adobe Stock