Old Cookbooks & Canning Tomatoes

Last night I was looking for how to make non-tomato based catsups. I found an interesting link to a half dozen old cookbooks with old catsup recipes in them. They also have nice sections on the old (often no longer ‘approved’) methods of canning.

Now I like to keep that old knowing around. Yes, it isn’t the absolutely zero risk methods / goal of today. However, it was from a time when not everyone could run out to the store and buy a 40 quart pressure canner with gauge and all. Now “someday” you or I might well find ourselves in some kind of “Aw Shit” circumstance. It would be very nice then to know how to have a ‘pretty good odds’ method of, say, canning some tomatoes or corn without good equipment. “Somewhere” I have already squirreled away the Victory Garden cookbook that included directions for using things like a tin wash tub as a water bath canner… I’ve also used a ‘steam vapor’ canner with good effect. (This is a shallow pan with boiling water in it, and a thin pot inverted over it to trap the steam. Essentially ‘boiling’ temperatures without the heavy tub of water to heat. While the paranoids scream that the heat transfer will be different from water contact, I note that condensing steam is a VERY effective heater…)

With that, first:

The obligatory “Do it ONLY this way!!!”:

The current approved methods ARE the better way. While there are only something like 50 cases of botulism a year in the USA and half of them are related to things other than food, if you are one of the couple of dozen who got food born botulism, you will be very unhappy. (Some few may even die from it.) So when able, use the newer ways.

Starters Book? It simply must be the “Ball Blue Book – Guide to Home Canning & Dehydration”. Sold fairly cheaply just about everywhere canning supplies are sold. Check your local hardware store near the jars and waterbath canners, or any Walmart.

While mine is old and cost me about $7, it looks like it is now an “All New!” one for $14.


From the experts at Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball canning products, comes the first truly comprehensive canning guide created for today’s home cooks. This modern handbook boasts more than 350 of the best recipes ranging from jams and jellies to jerkies, pickles, salsas, and more-including extender recipes to create brand new dishes using your freshly preserved farmer’s market finds or vegetable garden bounty.

Organized by technique, The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving covers water bath and pressure canning, pickling, fermenting, freezing, dehydrating, and smoking. Straightforward

Note that it covers more than canning including the basics of drying and pickling and more. Start with it.

Canning Tomatoes

For generations tomatoes were canned with the water bath method. Then the commercial tasteless rubber tomato came to supermarkets world wide. Now some folks had issues with “low acid tomatoes” and waterbath canning, so all over the place the paranoids are demanding that we all overcook our tomatoes with a pressure canner and can salsa instead of tomatoes, or add vinegar to them so we’re canning a weak pickle instead of tomatoes. OK… how about I just can normal tasty tomatoes with a bit of bite to them?… My copy of the Ball Blue Book still has the water bath method listed, and I’m fine with that. ( Copyright 1995 so 20 years old. OK, grow tomato varieties from 20+ years ago…) They do add a bit of citric acid or lemon juice to each jar ( 1 TBS / pint ) as that low acid tomato worry was starting even then.

I was going to write up the process from the Ball Book, but it looks like they have a YouTube out!

I get my utensil sets from Walmart and they are cheap. Looks like you can get a whole kit with the water bath tub, rack, etc. for all of $40 (on sale now at $35.14 and they will ship free to a Walmart near you for pickup in store)


For the Terminaly Impatient

BTW, all that “let stand for 12 to 24 hours” is so internal steam pressure drops to zero as it cools to room temp. It really ought to say “let stand to near room temperature”. I use an ice cube on top of the jar to get a rapid near instant seal, and that also cools the jar faster. I rarely leave jars out more than a few hours, and even shorter if more than one ice cube is applied per lid… Once just “warm” instead of “Hot”, I sometimes set them in a cool water bath / tub with water up to the threads. (Avoid a hot plunge as the thermal stress is not good for glass). Then again, I rarely can quarts and the pints and cups cool much faster.

The basic idea is that, fresh from the cooker, the water in the jar is at the boil, so vapor pressure inside is equal to air pressure outside and NO seal exists. As the jar cools, the steam turns to water and a vacuum starts to form in the jar. At first, very very low pressure. Under those conditions, a lid may have a trivial imperfection that lets air in, but that would be compressed and a good seal at even a 1 psi vacuum. By putting the ice cube on and pressing (gently, about 2 lbs / 1 kg) down, that seal is immediately made, NO air gets in, and then the cold condenses the steam inside the jar, sucking a vacuum. Instant seal, no chance of bacterial intrusion (as it was sealed prior to the vacuum pulling) and a nice save of an hour or two of waiting for that much heat (one ice cube of cold) to leak from the jar via convection. I’ve had zero failures to seal even reusing old lids since doing this method. You do end up with a wet towel under the jars, though, which is usually when I move them to a cool water bath… about 2 or 3 ice cubes / jar time. Doing this, I can start canning when the spouse goes to bed and have it all cleaned up before I go to bed…

The Old Cookbooks

Michigan State U. has a neat cookbook project:


Collection highlights

MSU’s Cookery & Food Collection includes more than 25,000 cookbooks and food-related works from all over the world. The collection spans more than five centuries, from as early as the 16th century up to the present.

Our collection is especially strong in:

Contemporary cooking of the Americas, including the United States
African American cooking
Jewish American cooking
Caribbean, Latin American and South American cooking
The influence of West African food and diet on the Americas
The Michigan Cookbook Project: an effort to collect all cookbooks published in our state.

We also have significant holdings on diet, health, and nutrition — from long-standing traditions to the latest diet fad.

Needless to say, with 25,000 of them, I’m not going to be reading them all. Not enough years left…

Under the “Digital Libraries” tab, you find this entry:

*MSU* Feeding America: Historic American Cookbooks

Feeding America website

Presents page images and full text transcriptions of 76 significant American cookbooks, from Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery (1798) to cookbooks of the 1920s.

Recipes can be searched by title and ingredient. The site also includes essays and author biographies, and a gallery of antique cooking implements from the MSU Museum.

That 76 is closer to what I can handle ;-) And, in particular, The Settlement Cook Book was what brought me to them (via a search on non-tomato catsups).


When I was a child, my Mum had a fine old cookbook from England. I have no idea where it went. Likely to one of my older sisters over the years. It has things like: To cook a chicken, first, pick a fine plump one, then hoist it by the neck and… Back when cooking started with chasing dinner around the back yard… ( Did that once. Dad brought home a live chicken to have us learn how to ‘dispatch and prepare’ one… and yes, a chicken sans head DOES run round the yard, tripping and tumbling and then back up and running… until it runs out of blood.) I have had an empty spot for that old cookbook for decades. No longer. These fine old books are ‘close enough’…

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project

The Project

The Feeding America project has created an online collection of some of the most important and influential American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century. The digital archive includes page images of 76 cookbooks from the MSU Library’s collection as well as searchable full-text transcriptions. This site also features a glossary of cookery terms and multidimensional images of antique cooking implements from the collections of the MSU Museum.

The Feeding America online collection hopes to highlight an important part of America’s cultural heritage for teachers, students, researchers investigating American social history, professional chefs, and lifelong learners of all ages.

Browse here:


The one I was looking for was this one:


Download the PDF

The Settlement Cook Book

By Lizzie Black Kander
Milwaukee: [S.N.], 1901

Interest: Charity and Church Cookbooks & The Great Ladies & Jewish & Midwest


The Settlement Cook Book: Containing Many Recipes Used In Settlement Cooking Classes, The Milwaukee Public School Cooking Centers and Gathered From Various Other Reliable Sources
Compiled By Mrs. Simon Kander.
Milwaukee: [S.N.], 1901.

But just a bit down that page was this note:

We have selected seven charity cookbooks to represent the more than 3000 that were published in the United States between 1864 and 1922. As we indicated in our introduction, the charity cookbook is a legacy of the Civil War. They are a remarkable resource for the culinary historian.

For other charity cookbooks, please see:

Presbyterian Cook Book 1873
Burr, The Woman Suffrage Cook Book
Shuman, Favorite Dishes 1893
Fox, The Blue Grass Cook Book 1904
Jennings, Washington Women’s Cook Book 1909
The Neighborhood Cook Book 1914

These books all represent themselves as charities, but also are cross-referenced to other categories.

This book is a splendid example of an American charity cookbook which went on to influence our cuisine for almost one hundred years. It began its life as a fundraiser for the Jewish Settlement House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Upon its first printing, it was an immediate success and was reprinted, in revised and enlarged editions, until almost the beginning of the 21st century. It was, or course, totally unrecognizable in its later printings. However, funds were raised for all kinds of charitable causes in Milwaukee for the first seventy-five years of its life. A rather remarkable contribution.

From its earliest printings, the recipes were not kosher and included lobster and shellfish. There were also many dishes of German origin, reflecting the German Jewish community in Milwaukee. The chapter on Kuchen includes those called Coffee or Sugar, Tarts, Good, Bundt, Apple, Poppy Seed, Berliner Pfann, Cheese and Blueberry as well as Filled Walnut Kipfel and Schnecken. Among the Jewish dishes were Matzos Pancakes, Matzos Balls, Filled Fish, Kugel, Matzos Pudding. Many of the recipes present an amalgam of German, Eastern European and Jewish cooking.

By 1991 two million copies of The Settlement Cookbook had been sold. It was an American classic, especially in the Midwest. A completelty revised and updated version, renamed The New Settlement Cookbook, edited by Charles Pierce, was issued in 1991, subtitled “The First Classic Collection of American Ethnic Recipes.”

In his introduction, Pierce gives a brief history of the book under consideration. He tells us that when the women who worked with the immigrant population flooding into Milwaukee asked the Board for money ($18) to publish this recipe book, the Board turned it down as an “unnecessary expense.” The women then decided to publish it themselves. So, in 1901, a cookbook was born (174 pages, including the advertisements). The first printing of 1,000 copies was quickly sold out and a second and enlarged edition of 1,500 copies was published in 1903. Thus began an American tradition. By the way, when the Board refused to grant the money requested by the women, they did give the project their blessing and said that they would “be happy to share in any profits.” How fortunate they were! The proceeds of the first two editions enabled the committee to purchase a site for the new Settlement House. And, as indicated above, Milwaukee charities benefitted from the sales of this book for about 75 years.

I’ve downloaded all of them, and looked through them (at least for the Catsup and home canning bits). They are remarkable. Not just for the books, but for the pencil notes in the fly leaf and margin, the touch of a human hand in a hot kitchen a hundred years ago, still on the pages… The fine penmanship in many cases reminds me of my Mum, as opposed for what passes as writing skill today.

Any cook could do far worse than to download these books and work through them over the years.

May God have a special place in heaven for Librarians and those who would preserve books…

Some Notes on Catsup and Canning

These old cookbooks are often very interested in things like preserves (sugaring of fruit to preserve it), pickles (acid preservation of food – vinegar or even lactic acid ferment pickles), salting to preserve, and drying and canning.



Away from the equator life proceeds by seasons. Fall is rich with harvest. Winter is dead, cold, hungry, and long. Spring? An eternity it seems to the first radish. Really only 25 days, but when the ‘winter stores’ are gone, that’s an eternity… I remember being 7 and checking the radish row Dad and I had planted. Every. Single. Day. For a Week. Then a tiny bit of green… and then waiting weeks for the first taste of radish. I never really appreciated that teaching until later. Where food comes from. The need to preserve the fall bounty to the spring radish. The waiting.

IF you would preserve food, start with old cookbooks. It was critical to not dying at the end of winter, or worse, the start of Spring…

Salting, drying, sugaring, canning, smoking, it’s all in there. Done by hand, with crude equipment and open fires. Do it or die trying.

Then there are the flavors and textures. Often stronger than now. Heavy with salt and vinegar from the preservation. Full of cloves and pepper to hide the game flavors or growth of microbes. From that time came strong cheeses and the recipes that say to scrub your ham fully (removing the crust of growth or smoked rind) and let it soak for 2 days in water to soften the dried meat… THEN you can start to cook. “Aged” beef is tender and delicious from a fungi that tenderizes the meat (very similar to the one that makes brie cheese). If you do not rot your meat properly, you die, but if you do, it is divine…

A rougher time, and a tougher time, but one with such pleasures to be had in their strength of flavors and processes.

So, many of the recipes call or some catsup to make the flavor. But the catsup then was not the vague sugary vinegar tomato puree of today. It was rich and various. Some examples:


1/2 bu. very ripe tomatoes,

2 teaspoons ground

1/3 teaspoon cayenne or red

2 tablespoons salt,

4 cups sugar,

1/4 teasooon ground

1 pint strong vinegar.

Score the tomatoes with a knife and boil 2 hours, then strain. Add the dry ingredients and when nearly done or reduced one-half, add the vinegar. Bottle and seal.

Cayenne Pepper? Hell yeah!


1 lb. horseradish root,

2 tablespoons sugar,

White wine vinegar.

Scrub the horseradish root, pare and grate over hot stove or out of doors. Mix and add all the vinegar that the horseradish will absorb. Bottle in air-tight cans and take out only enough at a time for immediate use.

Grate it over a hot stove (so convection takes the fumes away) or out doors? Then eat that stuff? Oh yeah!

How about Ginger in your pears?


Select Bartlett pears. Add ginger root or lemon slice to syrup if desired. If the fruit is ripe it may be treated exactly the same as peaches. If, on the other hand, it is rather hard it must be cooked until so tender that a silver fork will pierce it readily.

There was a courage about food then that is missing now… McDs burger? Fries with that? No thanks, I’ll take the ginger pears and roast smoked ham with Walnut Ketsyup Chutney and side of horseradish please…


Cook peas, string beans, beets, turnips, carrots, as for the table, in boiling water until softened so a fork can pierce them, remove from the fire, drain off the boiling water, and let cold, running water cool off and crisp the vegetables and drain again.

Pack them in hot, sterilized jars. Fill them to overflowing with water that has been boiled and cooled, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each quart of water, adjust rubbers and seal, stand jars in steamer or wash boiler, the bottom of which has been protected by a rack. Surround them with cold water, cover the boiler, gradually bring to the boiling point and boil steadily from one to two hours, according to the recipes which follow. When cooked, the required time, tighten the covers and run some warm beeswax around the rubber. Set away in a cool place.

Realize these had separate metal lids and a rubber ring, not the kind we tend to think of today. These, I think, were zink lids with a rubber ring. I’ve canned with the glass equivalent, and it is fairly easy. It’s the opening that’s a bit harder ;-) (Vacuum on glass lid, no place for a can opener or lid lifter…)

Corn can be alkaline by a bit, making canning a challenge. Today, nobody would say you could water bath can it. Pressure or nothing.


Select fresh, young sweet-corn, cut it down from the cobs, if you wish to retain the kernel; if you want the pulp grate it off with an ordinary grater or cut the kernel lengthwise and scrape the heart of the corn remaining on the cob.

Fill the hot, sterilized jars with corn to within 1/2 inch of the top, packing it solidly, add a little water and salt and sugar, if desired. Dip the rubber in boiling water and screw the covers on tightly. Place the jars in a boiler or large steamer of cold water, protected by a rack or place a layer of corn husks at the bottom of boiler, lay the sealed cans on their sides on the corn husks; if two layers are used have corn husks between the layers. The water in the boiler should completely cover the cans. Bring this to a boil gradually, and counting from the time it begins to boil, let boil 3 hours. Take it out of the water, where no draft will strike it. See that the top is screwed tight. Run some warm beeswax around the rubber. Put it away in a cool place and it will keep for years.

Golly… 3 hours? Well, per that book seen oh so long ago, it is a nomograph of time vs temperature vs acidity, and each can be traded for the other…

Want it on the cob? How about 5 hours:


Cut thin cobs of fresh young sweet corn in halves, lengthwise, or cut in small pieces, crosswise Pack them in large mouthed sterilized jars as full as you can without crushing the kernels. Cover with clear cold water. Dip rubber in boiling water, screw the covers down tightly. Place jars in steamer of cold water on a rack, or on a bed of corn husks. Lay the cans on their sides. If two layers of cans arc used have corn husks be tween the layers. The water in the boiler should completely cover the cans. Bring gradually to the boiling point, and counting from the time it begins to boil, let boil 5 hours. Take out of water, where no draft wall catch it. See that the top is screwed tight. Run warm beeswax around the rubber. Keep in a cool, dry place.

I’d never thought of canning corn ON the cob… until now.

Finally, in keeping with the intro of the “modern” way to can tomatoes, how was it done on the homestead in the late 1800s early 1900s? Where a few generations of my family lived and ate this way? On the farms, canning and preserving as best they could? (And, btw, nobody having botulism…)


Select the Acme tomato, a smooth, red, fleshy variety. Wash the tomatoes and plunge into boiling water for five minutes. Pare and slice, and then put into the preserving kettle. Heat the tomatos slowly, stirring frequently from the bottom. Boil for thirty minutes, counting from the time the vegetable begins actually to boil. Put in sterilized jars and seal.


Select medium sized, solid tomatoes. Wash and skin them. Cut out any imperfection. Pack carefully into hot, sterilized cans. Fill the cans with water that has been boiled and cooled, or strained tomato juice, and place covers loosely on cans.

Place cans on the floor of a moderately hot oven, protected by a sheet of asbestos paper, or set in a pan of hot water. Close oven door. When bubbles form in the water in the cans and rise to the top of cans take each can separately, slip on the rubber quickly, cover tightly and place out of a draft, until cool.

Note the use of the oven as canner? Now strictly forbidden by TPTB. Oh, and the horrors of asbestos too. (BTW, we had asbestos flame spreaders in high school chemistry class used with the Bunsen Burners… and I’m still here…)

What’s the theme here? When the tomatoes are at the boil, just seal and you are done. Not a lot of worry about psi or adding vinegar or whatever. But do note that they knew enough not to eat things that tasted off, had bubbles when opened, or just were not quite right.

Sidebar on “safe” Commercial Canned Goods

So if you are worried about botulism and decide home canning just isn’t for you. You want to ONLY eat safe commercially canned foods…

Once, about 1972, I was working in the Libby’s Peach Cannery in my home town (now burned down). I was in the warehouse where the ‘brights’ were labeled and packed. The Foreman came over. “We’ve got a load of gallons that didn’t cook through. They are bloats. You and {some other guy} are going to vent them and toss them in the trash. Here’s a hammer”. I was then handed a rock hammer that has a nice spike on one side. This does a dandy job of putting holes in cans if swung with vigor. Do NOT have your other hand in the way. We were shown to a place with a dumpster, and a pallet of gallons with bulging ends.

Now what they would do is can “brights” and put them in the warehouse for a few weeks or months. Later, when orders came in for other brands, apply the label, box, and ship. During that time, if something started to bloat, it was trash. Exactly how the things labeled and shipped the same day packed were kept from reaching the customer as bloats was “unclear”…

Well the other guy and I had a grand old time, taking gallons off the pallet, poking a hole with the hammer spike, having a geyser of cooked peaches and sugar water shoot out the hole into the air (mostly onto the concrete to be washed away later via hosing…some ‘directed’ at each other “for effect” ;-)

Then the forklift bringing another pallet…

Well, end of the day, we were soaked head to toe in peaches, sugar water, and botulinum… I took my shoes and shirt off before driving home… I think my butt was mostly not soaked… maybe… but the vinyl of the old VW didn’t care anyway.

The point? IF you think the commercial canners are any better or more careful or more competent that you are, think again.

My canning is way more careful, competent and careful than what happened in the cannery. Not that it matters much.

FWIW, I’ve never had a bloat nor an off can from what I’ve canned at home. I have found bloats in stores on the shelves… and had one can from the store, corn IIRC, ‘go off’ after having it sit on my shelf for a while.

So using the “old ways” is in some ways no more risky than the commercial stuff, and you need to have the same protective skills. Is the lid bloated outward, or sucked down in a vacuum? (Tap it. If it is high pitched and ‘rings’, good; if a dull ‘thunk’, not good). Does it smell right on opening? Yes, sniff your food. Always. Even the commercial stuff. Is there any unexpected bubbling or fizzing?

In short, the only real protection you have is sensory evaluation and a 10 minute boil after opening. (Something The Spouse hates, BTW. I’ll ‘boil the soup’ and she complains that it’s too hot and wants me to just warm it… I try to explain that I love her too much to give her commercially canned soup without boiling it… she complains again…) It is, IMHO, worse with commercially canned goods that with home canned. Why? Because you know you will eat what you can, so are clean and careful. The commercial operations are going to do what makes the most profit without being in trouble and the workers are doing what’s required while watching the clock. And it all depends on a couple of guys with rock hammers punching holes in the ‘mistakes’ to keep you safe…

In fairness: Gallons are very hard to can. Hard to get the middle hot enough. We never had a problem with pints, quarts, No.2 1/2 cans, etc. Then again, we’re talking acidic peaches, not corn… Just sayin’…

On to Catsup.

From http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/books/favoritedishes/favd.html

Title: Favorite dishes
Author: Carrie V. Shuman, compiler
Author: Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893 Board of Lady Managers, alternative author
Publisher: Chicago R. R. Donnelley & sons co., printers

Gooseberry Catsup.

From MRS. AMEY M. STARKWEATHER, of Rhode Island, Superintendent State Work and Lady Manager.Nine pounds of gooseberries; add five pounds of sugar, one quart of vinegar, three tablespoonfuls of cinnamon, one and one-half each of allspice and cloves. The gooseberries should be nearly or quite ripe. Take off the blossoms, wash, and put them into a porcelain kettle, scald, then put through a colander, add the sugar and spices; boil fifteen minutes; then add the vinegar; bottle immediately before it cools. Almost any recipe for spiced gooseberries makes a good recipe when the gooseberries are put through a colander or coarse sieve, and the vinegar added, cooled in this way.

If you wish a smaller recipe, use the following: To four quarts of fruit, take three pounds of sugar, one pint of vinegar, one tablespoonful each of ground cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Make as in the above recipe.

Amey M. Starkweather

The other books have very similar recipes for Plum catsup, mushroom catsup, and more.

I’ll be trying a plum catsup as my first non-tomato try. As a child, about 9 years of age?, Mum made a batch of ketchup at home. Why? Dad had planted about 2 or 3 x 50 foot rows of tomatoes… Er, way too many… Ketchup uses a lot of tomatoes… So this isn’t quite my first ketchup rodeo… Then again, it was only once we did it at home as Mum was not as fond of that whole homesteading ideation as “Dad of the Amish Granny”… So she would do enough to show she was up to the task, then Dad found other things to occupy him and was ‘encouraged’ to plant fewer tomatoes…

There’s a lot of interesting things and perspective to be found in old cookery books. I highly recommend them.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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19 Responses to Old Cookbooks & Canning Tomatoes

  1. Greg Hall says:

    Two of my favorite old cookbooks are Martha Washington’s (Boiled Chicken and Chicken Pie) and any of the Perfection Stove Company cookbooks that came with each new stove (Escalloped Tomatoes). If I get at least one good recipe out of an old cookbook, I am satisfied.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have a couple old cook books
    One the Better Homes Canning Cook Book ( 1973) mentions adding lemon juice to tomatoes.
    (includes a recipe for tomato katsup — start with 8# of tomatoes . . . )
    A small local cook book printed by the Pine Cone Extension Homemakers Club in Guffey Colorado (1968-1981)
    And a spiral bound cook book produced by KOA Radio in 1964 from Merrie Lynn’s Hello Neighbor” show

    It includes an “early 1940’s BBQ sauce recipe. As I recall this was one of those Listeners send in your favorite recipe projects.

  3. Kevin Lohse says:

    If you can,(pun not intended), get hold of a copy of Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery, a Victorian publication that started it all. I’ve been using the stone-age preservation methods in this book for over 40 years, using Kilner jars and recycled glass jars and have yet to hospitalise anyone.

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    Used Book Stores are my favorite place to spend time and not much money to acquire real treasures. Old cook books and old engineering books are of greatest value to me. Real things that benefit people are timeless…pg

  5. poitsplace says:

    Something I found quite interesting to watch, some youtube videos about 18th century cooking. Also found their video on egg preservation interesting…never really thought about the fact that eggs were once…seasonal.


  6. PaulID says:

    OK I saw this and knew of your search for non tomato base catsup so since tis the season http://www.instructables.com/id/Pumpkin-Ketchup/

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Kevin Lohse:

    Looks like it is here https://archive.org/details/b2152841x
    but the pdf is rough…
    this one claims to be Mrs Beeson’s Dictionary of cookery
    this one also has issues in the pdf (at least on my tablet) and claims to be an update of the ‘Dictionary’.. https://archive.org/details/b21529164

    Ah, this looks like a clean online version…

    Miss E. Niell cookbook found while looking for a download of Mrs Washington’s


    Wow, that IS timely! Especially as I have a gifted pumpkin sitting on my counter…

  8. PaulID says:

    I am kinda sorry about that recipe didn’t go past the first page til just now it does have tomato.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    No worries, it is still a new idea and exemplar of spice mix. I saw the tomatoes and just thought “OK so substitute plums” and moved on to the rest of it. As pumpkin is cheap and plums dear, it’s still a win…

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    If you really need a tomato catchup substitute I would suggest an apple butter of some kind. Cooking apples are readily available at any time and not expensive. consistency is about right and old time cooks often substituted tomatoes or apples. Build recipe to suit your taste…pg

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    Good idea. Since catsup is basically an acid sugar (sweet & sour) savory fruit butter, where seveal fruits are used historically, most any fruit ought to be usable, and yeah, Apples are available and cheap.

    Do I NEED it? Not really. I can live without catsup, or use it only once a week and be fine, or more often with only minor finger arthritic discomfort… but I’d rather be able to have burger and fries with ketchup more often…

  12. Judy F. says:

    In my 1907 Lowney’s cook book by Maria Willett Howard ( price $2.00) there is a recipe for mushroom ketchup and another for cucumber ketchup.

    Mushroom Ketchup
    Arrange layers of mushrooms and salt in preserving kettle; let stand on back of stove for twelve hours. Press through a sieve. Measure. For each quart of mushroom liquor add one pint vinegar, one tablespoon salt, two tablespoons each of cloves, allspice, mace, and mustard seed. Boil until thick, then bottle.

    Cucumber Ketchup
    3 large cucumbers, 1 large onion, 2 tablespoons grated horseradish, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 cups vinegar, 2 tablespoons pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika.
    Grate cucumber and onion, add remaining ingredients. Boil five minutes, bottle and seal.

    My daughter can eat her weight in spaghetti and when she went on a low acid diet and couldn’t have tomatoes she thought the end of the world had arrived. She found a fairly decent substitute in a red pepper based sauce. I have seen similar recipes substituting parmesan cheese for romano cheese; also roasting red peppers instead of using canned peppers but you can change the recipe to suit your taste. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/quick-and-easy-roasted-red-pepper-pasta/

  13. H.R. says:

    @Judy F.

    That cucumber ketchup looks like a winner. I’m going to give it a whirl.

    Question: in that old cookbook, is the spelling ‘catsup’ or ‘ketchup’? I’m assuming ketchup, since that’s what you used, but it’s never safe to assume.

    Historical side note – my grandparents were born in the 1880s and since tomatoes were a fruit, they ate sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar for desert. That’s how I learned to like tomatoes at a young age.

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    Dad had a 100 ways to eat tomatoes… From ‘fried green tomatoes’ (that we had both very early in the season, and at the end when pulling out vines as the frosts came) to in a bowl with milk and sugar like peaches to on a plate salted or sugared to just ‘out of hand’… The strangest one to me was the milk and sugar, but it tastes surprisingly good ;-)

    @Judy F.:

    That cucumber katsup ketsup catsup ketchup catchup caychap kechiap (and likely a few more spellings exist) looks quick and easy. (The mushroom one will be done by me ‘someday’ but being slow to do will be a long ‘someday’ away… first the plum, pumpkin and now cucumber ones ;-)

    Per the wiki, it looks like the Brits are responsible for turning the original fish sauce ke-chiap into a mushroom catsup:


    Mushroom ketchup[edit]
    Main article: Mushroom ketchup

    In the United Kingdom, preparations of ketchup were historically and originally prepared with mushrooms as a primary ingredient, rather than tomatoes. Ketchup recipes began to appear in British and then American cookbooks in the 18th century. In a 1742 London cookbook, the fish sauce had already taken on a very British flavor, with the addition of shallots and mushrooms. The mushrooms soon became a main ingredient, and from 1750 to 1850 the word ketchup began to mean any number of thin dark sauces made of mushrooms or even walnuts. In the United States, mushroom ketchup dates back to at least 1770, and was prepared by British colonists in “English speaking colonies in North America”. In contemporary times, mushroom ketchup is available in the UK, although it is not a commonly used condiment.

    Note the link to a dedicated Mushroom Catchup page…, it has this link at the bottom:


    Banana ketchup or banana sauce is a popular Philippine fruit ketchup condiment made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Its natural color is brownish-yellow, but it is often dyed red to resemble tomato ketchup. Banana ketchup was made when there was a shortage of tomato ketchup during World War II, due to lack of tomatoes and a comparatively high production of bananas.

    Flavor and use

    In Filipino households, this condiment is used on many assorted dishes – omelettes (torta), hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, fish, charcoal-grilled pork barbecue and chicken skewers, and other meats. Banana ketchup is also a vital and distinct ingredient in Filipino-style bolognese sauce, which is sweeter than the traditional Italian bolognese sauce.

    It is exported to countries where there is a considerable Filipino population (United States, Spain, Canada, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Hong Kong, France, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and United Arab Emirates).

    Filipina food technologist Maria Y. Orosa (1893–1945) is credited with inventing a banana ketchup recipe.

    Since there’s a pretty good sized Filipino population near here, I can likely find in in a local ethnic food market… Hmmm…. Note to Self: Visit local ethnic markets and cruise the sauce and condiment isles…

    I’d have never thought of banana catsup… (yes, I’m deliberately spelling it different ways… variety is the spice of life, even in words and spellin’… )

    Hey, you can order it online:

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    Combine the raisins, onions, garlic, tomato paste and 1/3 cup vinegar in the container of a food processor; process the mixture until smooth, and then transfer the mixture to a large, heavy saucepan.
    Add the banana chunks and another 1/3 cup vinegar to the food processor container; process the mixture until smooth and then transfer the banana mixture to the saucepan.
    Add the remaining 2/3 cup vinegar, 3 cups water, brown sugar, salt and cayenne pepper.
    Bring the mixture in the saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
    Reduce the heat to low and cook the ketchup, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1¼ hours.
    If the ketchup threatens to stick to the bottom of the pan at any point, add some of the remaining water, up to 1 cup.
    Add the corn syrup, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and cloves to the ketchup.
    Cook the ketchup over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes longer, or until it is thick enough to coat a metal spoon.
    Stir in the rum.
    Remove the ketchup from the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
    Force the ketchup through a fine sieve to strain it, pressing down hard on the solids.
    Remove the ketchup from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
    Store covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 month.

    INGREDIENTS Nutrition
    3 cups, approximately
    2 ounces sultanas
    3 ounces onions, coarsely chopped
    2 -3 cloves garlic (big, fat ones)
    3 fluid ounces tomato paste
    1 1⁄3 cups cider vinegar or 1 1⁄3 cups malt vinegar
    4 bananas, very large and extremely ripe and cut into chunks
    3 -4 cups water
    1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
    1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 fluid ounces golden syrup or 2 fluid ounces light corn syrup
    2 teaspoons ground allspice
    3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
    1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
    2 tablespoons dark rum

    Rum? In katchup? Man, I gotta get me some o’ dat…


    Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno, ginger, turmeric, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Stir in bananas, vinegar, honey, rum, tomato paste, soy sauce, and salt; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

    Transfer ketchup to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Thin with water as needed to reach a ketchup-like consistency. Season with additional salt to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
    1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
    2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
    1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño from (about 1 small jalapeño)
    2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 tablespoons rum
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    Water, as needed

    Again with the rum! Me be ‘tinkin Is be needin some o’ dat real soon. (And wondering if that is way granddad like sailing to foreign lands so much and if that’s why Pidgin English is so comfortable… brings a new meaning to ‘fries with that?’ and lots of extra katsup…

    This one is lacking Rum, for anyone not disposed to rum… like my spouse…


    Banana Ketchup Recipe

    Prep time
    12 mins
    Cook time
    80 mins
    Total time
    1 hour 32 mins

    Author: Vanjo Merano
    Serves: 12
    2 lbs saging na saba (bananas), cleaned
    17 pieces birds eye chili, crushed and minced
    2 cups white vinegar
    2 lbs brown sugar
    ¼ teaspoon coloring – choco brown
    0.18 ounces sodium benzoate
    ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
    ¼ teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon coloring – ketchup red
    1 head onion, chopped
    1 piece red bell pepper
    3 tablespoons garlic, minced
    100 ounces water
    3.6 ounces iodized salt
    ¼ teaspoon cloves, crushed
    Put water in a large pot and let boil.
    Put in the bananas and boil for 12 minutes. Remove from the pot and let cool.
    When the bananas have cooled, peel them and divide each into 3 pieces by slicing.
    Combine bananas, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Place in a blender with 2 cups of water and blend for seconds. Note: this can be done by batch.
    Place the mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add chili, all the spices, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix well.
    Place the mixture in a large pot and cook for 60 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
    Put-in the food coloring and sod benzoate. Stir until well blended.
    Let the mixture cool and transfer to jars or containers.

  16. Judy F. says:

    @H.R. yes, the old cookbook used the spelling ketchup.
    My ex’s family would eat tomatoes as a side with pancakes in the mornings. It actually wasn’t too bad.

    @E.M. and p.g.

    How about apple catsup? From the White House Cookbook . The first few pages are missing but it looks to be authored by Hugo Ziemann and Mrs. F.L.Gilette. I am guessing it to be circa 1910. It has a picture of Helen Herron Taft, wife of President Taft in the front section.
    “Peel and quarter a dozen sound, tart apples; stew them until soft in as little water as possible, then pass them through a sieve. To a quart of the sifted apple, add a teacupful of sugar, one teaspoonful of pepper, one of cloves, one of mustard, two of cinnamon and two medium-sized onions chopped very fine. Stir all together, adding a tablespoonful of salt and a pint of vinegar. Place over the fire and boil one hour, and bottle while hot; seal very tight. It should be about as thick as tomato catsup, so that it will run from the bottle.”

    There is also a recipe for oyster catsup:

    “One pint of oyster meats, one teacupful of sherry, a tablespoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper, the same of powdered mace, a gill of cider vinegar.
    Procure the oysters very fresh and open sufficient to fill a pint measure; save the liquor and scald the oysters in it with the sherry; strain the oysters and chop them fine with the salt, cayenne and mace, until reduced to a pulp; then add it to the liquor in which they were scalded; boil it again five minutes and skim well; rub the whole through a sieve, and, when cold, bottle and cork closely. The corks should be sealed.”

    (I’m thinking that Hercule Poirot could stop right there and point his finger saying “the cook did it” if anyone ate the oyster catsup, but that’s just me.)

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Judy F:

    I’m all for the Apple Catsup… I’m just marveling at the range of things katchup… From Apples and bananas to oysters, walnuts and mushrooms; oh my!

    I suspect I’m going to be trying a ‘catchup of the month’ for a few years ;-)

    But no worries, the apple one will definitely be in there!

    In fact, it will likely be among the first. Since it looks like ketchup is in the seasoning mix, not the particular fruit, fish, or fungi; I was thinking:

    Maybe I can just buy a jar of apple butter and season it up to be a ketsup… allow for the sugar already in it, add the other seasonings… It just might be a very quick way to get something workable. (Need to compare sugar levels in the Apple Butter and the above recipe first though…)

  18. H.R. says:

    Hey, all. Banana catsup is an off-the-shelf item in my local pan-Asian market. Comes in a bottle just like the restaurant table-size bottles. I think it comes in from Indonesia. I paid $1.29 (IIRC) last time I bought some.

    No rum, so if I’m going to experiment, I think I’ll start with those ;o)

  19. PaulID says:

    Ok E.M. here is another one that I know has no tomatoes in it and has been in production in eastern Europe for a very long time.

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