Feel free to multiply amounts accordingly (with the exception of the cinnamon stick, which you might not need to add more of).
You'll need a wide-mouth funnel or small ladle, a jar lifter/canning tongs and 2 half-pint jars with new lids and rings.
Make Ahead: The (jar-processed) ketchup can be stored at a cool room temperature for up to 1 year. If you do not wish to process the jars of ketchup via the canning method, the cooled ketchup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: Makes 2 half-pint jars
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted (about 4 cups, pre-pit removal)
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- One 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 whole star anise
Place the pitted cherries in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to form a thick pulp (about 2 cups, but don't worry if it's less). Transfer to a medium nonreactive saucepan. Add the vinegars, sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger and star anise and place over medium heat, stirring until the mixture bubbles. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring a few times; the mixture should be a bit runnier than regular ketchup. Remove from the heat; discard the cinnamon stick and star anise.
Transfer to a deep container (to reduce splashing). Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree until smooth. Return to the saucepan and place over low heat; keep warm until ready to process using the water-bath canning method.
Meanwhile, set up a canning station: Place two empty half-pint jars into a pot; add water to the pot to cover them by at least 1 inch. Cover with the pot lid and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Place the rings and lids in a separate small saucepan and cover with hot water. Keep the jars, rings and lids immersed until you are ready to fill.
Layer one or two clean kitchen towels on the counter. Use a jar lifter (also sold as canning tongs) to carefully transfer the sterilized jars to the towel(s). Working with one jar at a time, place a wide-mouth funnel over the jar opening and ladle in the ketchup, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space. Use a flat, non-metallic spatula or chopstick to stir the ketchup and remove any air bubbles.
Use a separate clean kitchen towel to wipe clean the rim of each jar. Place the lids on top, then gently screw on the rings (not too tight). Use the jar lifter to return the filled and covered jars to the boiling water. Cover with the pot lid and process for 10 minutes.
Return the jars to the kitchen-towel-lined area. Listen for the "ping" of each jar, a sign that you have a proper seal. Allow to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. Store in a cool, dark place. Label and date the jars; the ketchup should be good for up to 1 year.
Adapted from "On the Side," by Jessica B. Harris (Simon & Schuster, 2004), with inspiration from "Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It," by Karen Solomon (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.