Maroc Mama's recipe uses dates as the only sweetener, and they also make the ketchup naturally nice and thick, without having to boil down gallons of tomatoes for hours. My adaptation increases the finished amount, uses canned tomatoes for ease and convenience, and includes allspice, cloves and cinnamon for even more ketchup-y flavor.
All told, it took around half an hour to prepare, and the results were excellent. The test I use is to see how it flies with my son and husband - they both could not care less about healthy eating or high quality ingredients if it doesn't taste great. Both of them went out of their way to tell me how delicious this is, and they consumed mass quantities, so I figured this recipe was worth sharing far and wide.
Easy Homemade Date Sweetened Tomato KetchupInspired by and adapted from: Maroc Mama's Date Ketchup
1 cup onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, strained, w/liquid reserved separately
1 cup pitted dates, lightly packed (medjool are very nice)
2 tsp ground dried ginger
1 tsp kosher salt (less if your tomatoes are salted, to your own taste)
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ c white wine vinegar
Large non-reactive saucepan
Immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor
Heat olive oil in large non-reactive saucepan, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Drain canned tomatoes, reserving liquid. Crush tomatoes by hand (watch out for splatters – guess how I know!) and add them to the pot along with the dates and 1 cup of reserved tomato liquid.
Mix in the salt, pepper and spices. Bring to a simmer, and let go for 10-15 minutes, or until the dates have softened. Make sure the heat is not too high, or it will burn!
Stir in the vinegar. Blend the whole mixture until smooth. I used an immersion blender, and it worked beautifully, but you can use any blender or food processor.
You should have a fairly thick mixture by now, but if it's too thin for you, put it back in the pan and simmer at low medium heat until it's reduced to your liking. Taste for salt, and adjust as needed. Let cool at room temperature and store in refrigerator.
Makes 1 quart. I put mine in a jar with a reCap lid for convenience.
This was my first time making ketchup, and it was really worth it.