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Grandma Rader’s Tomato Catsup

Submitted by: wvhomecanner on May 8, 2010
1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5
Grandma Rader's Tomato Catsup

This is my paternal Grandmother’s recipe. She was born in Roane County WV in 1897. The next to the last time I made it, I put it in sterilized single serve wine bottles and sealed with paraffin just because it reminded me of the ketchup bottles she saved and used.
Now I process mine in a boiling water bath.
We love this on hamburgers and meatloaf.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Servings: ?


1 peck ripe tomatoes, cut up (8 quarts cut-up tomatoes)
4 large onions, chopped
6-10 fresh peach leaves, washed
1 cup vinegar
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. pickling spices (tied in cloth bag)
2 Tbsp. salt (or to taste)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (dissolved in vinegar)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. turmeric


Cook tomatoes, onions, peach leaves until tomatoes are soft and juice runs free. Strain or sieve, return pulp to pot. Add vinegar, sugar, bag of spices, salt to tomato mixture. Cook until volume is reduced by 1/2. Add cornstarch*, cayenne, and turmeric. Cook until thick. Bottle and seal with wax.(NOTE: this is no longer an acceptable method to preserve ‚Äď process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes !)
*May need additional cornstarch to thicken – I now use Clearjel.
Can add some hot peppers to cooking mixture to make a spicier catsup – August 2010 I made a Jalapeno version by adding 10 medium jalapenos and two cloves of garlic to the veggies. Delicious!

Categories: Boiling Water Bath, BWB Condiments, Canning, Old-Fashioned, Preserving

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  1. 5-8

    Your posting of this recipe is such a gift to me. I remember helping mom in the kitchen make Catsup (ketchup) and I can remember picking peach leaves.
    I used to laugh at that as I thought how crazy that is….but lo and behold, you have a recipe calling for peach leaves. Mom’s recipes have been scarfed up by other family members and I did not get many of the old recipes but I have lasting memories and this sure helped restore one special time in the kitchen with my beautiful mom. Thank you so much. Now, summer will be here soon and we will have all these wonderful recipes before us laid out so we can start our summer preserving. Bless you.

  2. 5-8

    Oh, you are so welcome but you give me a gift as well because FINALLY I find someone who understands the peach leaves!!! I hope when you make this and get that first taste that your ‘memory buds’ take you back for just a moment <3

  3. 5-11

    Maybe I missed it in the notes but how long do you process this in the boiling water bath? I am fairly new to canning anything except jelly and get sort of paranoid about killing off the family from botulism lol.

  4. 5-12

    Melinda – I apologize – I use ‘canning shorthand’ a lot! In the recipe ‘BWB’ means boiling water bath. It’s a good thing to remember, since the canning part of the index here at Farm Bell also uses ‘BWB’ and ‘PC’ (PC = pressure canning). So back to your question, you process this in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. ANY recipe here that you have a question about – ASK and we’ll get you an answer. Hope you like this recipe!


  5. 7-7

    About how much does this make? I’m new to canning and wanted to have enough half pint (?) jars ready to BWB. I really am looking forward to trying this recipe! But where does one go about getting peach leaves if buying the peaches instead of growing yourself? Will it make a difference if I don’t have them?

  6. 7-7

    Awwww Tammy I don’t know – but I can look in my notes at home and see what the last batch made and I did can it in half-pint jars. I’ll try to remember to look when I get home this evening.

  7. 8-19

    This make somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 to 8 pints. I just made a batch last week and remembered to count…..

  8. 8-19

    My latest batch of this is Jalapeno! My daughter and a couple of my co-workers are crazy about a locally bottled Habanero Ketchup. It’s over the top for me, but my daughter pointed out that it tasted basically like this recipe. So…. to come up with one that was spicy but didn’t catch on fire…. I added 10 jalapenos (about 1 1/2″ long at most) and two cloves of garlic to the tomato mix. I chopped them in the food processor first. Excellent! Next up, a batch w/habaneros for the pepper heads.

  9. 8-20

    LOL, well the peach leaves are part of the original recipe and I have never made this without them. I once wondered if they were a depression-era substitute for bay leaves, but bay would impart a distinctly different flavor. We had a lengthy discussion on them when I posted the recipe over in the Community Cookbook a year ago. Cindy P found a link that said that they impart an almond/floral flavor, but that’s not evident in the finished catsup/ketchup. I just know that it works LOL!

  10. 10-5

    I noticed you said you use clearjel now instead of cornstarch. How much clearjel do you use for this recipe?

  11. 10-5

    I used about 3 heaping Tbsp. I believe and it still could be a bit thicker. This has always needed more thickener than written. Also, Clearjel recommends using 1/2 of it in place of the stated amount of cornstarch. I don’t find that to be accurate – it’s not enough.

  12. 10-5

    great, thanks for letting me know! can’t wait to try this recipe out!

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