Saturday, December 21, 2019

Making Cave Ketchup (includes recipe)

By Timothy Gamble (July 26, 2016)

I recently picked up a copy of Paleo Comfort Foods, at the recommendation of my doctor (he follows a "mostly" paleo diet himself). It is a cookbook full of recipes that fit the Paleo Diet. I'm not on a strict Paleo diet, but because if my diabetes I avoid grains, including bread, cereals, rice, and pasta, as well as white potatoes, and added sugar in my foods, as part of eating a healthy diet. Paleo foods fit my requirements nicely.

For those not familiar with the Paleo Diet, it rejects industrialized (highly processed) foods, and most Agricultural Age foods (such as grains, and most legumes). Folks following a Paleo Diet eat lots of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, most veggies, mushrooms, fruits, herbs & spices, honey, and most nuts & seeds. They avoid bread, cereal, rice, and grains of all sorts, white potatoes, most beans, added sugars (they sweeten with honey or fruit), and the artificial flavors, coloring, & preservatives so common in modern foods. That is an over-simplification of the Paleo Diet, of course, but it gives you the basic idea. 

One of the recipes in Paleo Comfort Foods is for a Paleo version of ketchup. Since I can't eat regular ketchup, because it is loaded with added sugars, I was quite happy to find a recipe for home-made ketchup without all that extra sugar, found in store-bought ketchup. I made it over the weekend, and have tried it on several foods. Here is the recipe (given in the context of an overall book review, so as to not violate copyright), along with my comments on how it turned out, along with the book review.

Cave Ketchup

6 ounces of tomato paste (no salt, no sugar added variety)
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch allspice
1 pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 clove garlic (I used minced garlic instead)
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients (except the garlic clove and bay leaf) in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Add in the garlic clove and bay leaf (whole). Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Watch for desired consistency, as this stuff will thicken quickly toward the end. If you overdo it, you can add a tablespoon of water back to the mix. Remove the bay leaf and garlic clove, and allow the ketchup to cool.

My Comments

I didn't have a garlic clove, so I substituted some minced garlic instead. It took close to the 30 minutes for my ketchup to thicken to how I liked it. The BIG advantage of cave ketchup for me is no added sugar (Regular Ketchup is loaded with added sugar). It also is missing all the artificial preservatives and other chemicals typically found in store-bought ketchup. 

Taste: Cave Ketchup tastes a lot like regular ketchup, except its is not nearly as sweet (which is the point, as far as I'm concerned). It does have a slightly more vinegary taste, and I can taste the cinnamon, which is missing from store-bought ketchup. Overall, Cave Ketchup is more favorable than regular ketchup. I will be using Cave Ketchup as my version of ketchup from now own. 

Disclaimer: I have avoided sugar and sweets for over a year now, and am no longer used to most store-bought foods, which tend to be loaded with lots of salt and sugar. Store-bought ketchup now tastes so sweet to me as to be almost nauseating. If you are used to sweet ketchup, it make take some time to adjust your taste buds to Cave Ketchup, but it is so much healthier for you that it is worth the effort.

Paleo Comfort Foods - Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen book by  Julie & Charles Mayfield is primarily a cookbook, not a Paleo Diet book, in that it is almost all recipes - more than 125 - but not much explanation of the Paleo Diet itself. I've already given you the gist, and if you want more info on the Paleo Diet just search for it on You Tube.

The recipes are divided into six sections:

1 - Starters & Snacks (examples: Paleo Spiced Nuts, Deviled Eggs, Spicy Chicken Wings)

2- Sauces & Staples (examples: Paleo Mayonnaise, Turkey Gravy, Tartar Sauce)

3- Soups & Salads (examples: Chicken & Grape Salad, Chicken Soup, Beef Stew)

4-  On The Side (examples: Grilled Veggies, Oven-Roasted Okra, Paleo Grits)

5- Main Dishes (examples: Green Eggs & Turkey, Pot of Chicken Pie, Fish Tacos, Braised Rabbit, Venison Medallions with Mustard Sauce, Country Captain Chicken, Cedar-Plank Chipotle Salmon)

6- Deserts (examples: Poached Pears, Sweet Potato Pie, Apple Crisp)

Folks, there is nothing fancy about these recipes. Its just healthy foods that regular folks like me can fix and eat! 

I've also tried (this morning!) the Breakfast Egg Muffins. Delicious and healthy!

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