I regularly triple or quadruple this recipe. Keep in mind that this is a guide and the seasonings can be adjusted to your individual tastes. You can add less salt, more hot pepper or onion. Just keep things proportionate. It looks hard but I promise it isn't. It takes time but it is worth it. I work full time but still make this every year. Sometimes I make "hot" ketchup for the daring ones in our bunch. Other times I pretty much follow the recipe. My family now consider commercial ketchups overly sweet and...ordinary.
1In a sauce pan, bring first 4 ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
2Cut your tomatoes into a large pan (I use a roaster because I make a huge batch at once)
3Chop onion and pepper (any hot pepper will do, just adjust amount to accomodate heat)Add to tomatoes
4On medium heat, cook vegetables until complete cooked down.
5Put through a colander and make certain you get all the pulp you can
6Pour juice and pulp back into large pan (why not, it's already dirty)Discard peelings and seeds
7Add the sugar all at once and the salt a tsp at a time or to taste. You can add more if you like.
8Cook the juice until reduced to roughly half the amount. Add strained vinegar mixture and continue cooking, at medium heat (you do NOT want this to scorch so be patient) until flavors come together.
9At this point you can either continue to cook until reduced to thick, ketchup consistency OR you can use a starch product such as Ultra Gel to thicken the product. It is less time consuming and you end up with more ketchup and the flavor isn't affected.
10Ladle into hot, clean pint jars and cap.
11Water bath 15 minutes. Let cool and store in pantry