canning tomatoes

Pickle Tomatoes, Make Chutney and Catchup

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This is a continuation of the post Ways to Use and Cook Tomatoes. 


Fortnight – a period of two weeks.

Peck – A measurement for dry volume. A peck is two gallons or eight dry quarts. Four pecks make a bushel.

Scald – To heat liquid almost to a boil, until bubbles begin to form around the edge.

Strew – Scatter or spread untidily over a surface or area.


Scald and peel a peck of ripe tomatoes. Lay them on dishes, and strew salt thickly over them. Let them stand for twenty-four hours, occasionally pouring off the liquor that the salt extracts. Then drain them on a sifter, and gently squeeze them, as it is this juice that weakens the vinegar and makes the pickles spoil. Take a large jar, put in a layer of tomatoes, then a layer of sliced onions, mustard seed, cloves and white pepper, or whole black pepper (you may if you like, break two pods of red pepper and put in each jar.) When the jar is full, pour very strong vinegar over, and in a few days they will be ready for use, and will keep all winter. They retain much of the tomato flavor, and should be kept in a cool place.

Another Way.
Take small round tomatoes when they are not too ripe. Stick them with a needle in several places to keep the skin from bursting, and let them lay a week in salt and water. Then wash them and put them in a jar with some cloves, pepper and small onions. Cover them with strong cold vinegar, and tie up the jar.

Slice one gallon green tomatoes, and put a handful salt to each layer of tomatoes. Let them stand twelve hours, then drain off the liquor, and add to them two green peppers, and two to four onions, sliced. Take two quarts vinegar, half a pint molasses, two tablespoonfuls mustard, one teaspoonful allspice, and one of cloves. Heat it until it begins to boil, then put in tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Let them boil ten minutes, pour into a stone jar, and seal tight. In a fortnight they will be ready for use.

To one-half bushel nicely chopped tomatoes, which must be squeezed dry, add two dozen onions, chopped fine, one dozen green peppers, chopped, one box ground mustard, one large root horseradish, nearly one pint salt, four tablespoonfuls ground cloves, and four tablespoonfuls allspice. Mix thoroughly in a stone jar and cover with vinegar, making a hole in the center of the mixture to let the vinegar go to the bottom.

Take one peck of green tomatoes, six large green peppers, six onions, and one cup of salt. Chop onions and peppers fine, slice the tomatoes about a quarter of an inch thick, and sprinkle the salt over all. In the morning drain off all the salt and water, and put the tomatoes in a porcelain-lined kettle. Mix together thoroughly two pounds brown sugar, one-fourth pound mustard-seed, one ounce each of powdered cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper, one-half ounce allspice, and one-quarter ounce each of cayenne pepper and ground mustard. Stir all into the tomatoes, cover with cider vinegar—about two quarts—and boil slowly for two hours. Very nice, but very hot. If wanted less so, omit the cayenne and ground mustard.

Boil one bushel of ripe tomatoes, skins and all, and when soft, strain through a colander. Be sure that it is a colander, and not a sieve, for reasons to be given. Add to this pulp two quarts of best vinegar, one cup of salt, two pounds of brown sugar, half an ounce of cayenne pepper, three ounces each of powdered allspice and mace, two ounces of powdered cinnamon, and three ounces of celery-seed. Mix spices and sugar well together, and stir into the tomato. Add the vinegar, and stir thoroughly.

Now strain the whole through a sieve. A good deal of rather thick pulp will not go through. Pour all that runs through into a large kettle, and let it boil slowly till reduced one-half. Put the thick pulp into a smaller kettle, and boil twenty minutes. Use as a pickle with cold meats or with boiled fish. A teacupful will flavor a soup. In the old family rule from which this is taken, a pint of brandy is added ten minutes before the catchup is done. It is not necessary, though an improvement. Bottle, and keep in a cool, dark place. It keeps for years.

NOTE: I’ve seen three ways of spelling this word in various 1800s cookbooks:  catchup, catsup, and ketchup

photo credit

Do You Like Tomatoes?  How Do You Use Them?

Posted in Condiments, Vegetables.


  1. Wow! Two cups of brown sugar! No wonder so many people like catsup. Interesting post as usual.

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