How to Do It: Make Plastic-Free Ketchup

How to Make Homemade, Plastic-Free Ketchup

By Beth Terry, Author of Plastic Free

Making my own ketchup has been on my to-do list since my last bottle ran out. Just across the San Francisco Bay, my good friend Mark has been making his own ketchup for ages, along with homemade mayo, homemade bread—sans bread machine—and much more. I went over to Mark’s house with a bag of tomatoes, an onion, and a willingness to learn. He’d already sterilized a few mason jars (to hold the finished product) and started a big pot of water boiling.

Here are the ingredients we used. Notice there are no BPA-lined cans involved:

  • 4 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup your choice of vinegar — Mark uses white vinegar. Whatever kind you buy, try to get vinegar in a glass bottle instead of plastic.
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice

Touch the slideshow for instructions:

IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the ketchup, do not fill the jar all the way. Leave space at the top for expansion. Glass jars are fine in the freezer as long as they are not overfilled.

If I had planned ahead this summer, I could have used beautiful farmers market tomatoes. But I have to say, it was lovely to spend a winter afternoon just hanging out and chatting with my friend while the scent of cloves wafted through the air and the windows fogged up from the steam. I’m starting to think cooking is the most fun when done as a team sport.


Beth Terry is a regular contributor to Plastic Free Times and the author of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.