After much deliberation (and after we told her there simply couldn’t be a tie), Suzy has chosen the winner of our Month of August contest.

There were many wonderful ideas for giving gifts from the garden (some of which we’ve already used ourselves), but we forced Suzy to choose only one (sometimes we are just sticklers for the rules)

And the winner is…


Laurie said:

With an overabundance of tomatoes and bar-b-q season still in full force, I gather up a big batch of tomatoes, de-seed them, remove their skins and slow cook them until they are soft. After cooling them, they get pureed in my blender, with an added bit of sea salt, basil, roasted onions and red bell peppers from the garden. When all is nice and smooth, I bottle up my home made “ketsup” and send the bottles to friends, in a basket, along with some fresh, unhusked corn, a bbq utensil or two and fresh baked goodies like bread rolls. I include a few recipes for burgers, pork and steak. My ketsup goes great on top of bar-b-qed foodstuffs!

Suzy is REALLY hoping that Laurie will share her ketsup recipe (and we are, too!)

Congratulations, Laurie!!!

by Josh and Brent

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i didn't know the lads did their own web page. is there anything dr. brent can't do? he's from nc, you know. can you sing too doc?

ellen in nc


Hi – I love visiting your site and wish I could actually visit Beekman House some day. I was wondering if it would be possible to create a 'print' option for your recipes and tips that would enable you to just get the recipe without printing 2 or 3 pages of comments and other information… It might save a tree or two!

Take care!

Dr. Brent

Hi, Rebecca

This is a great idea, and we will definitely investigate. Right now we are doing the website all ourselves, and we aren't that tech savvy. I would suggest at the moment if you find a recipe you like, cut it and paste it into a word document and then print out that page. We agree! Save the trees!


Suzy, I do hope that you have the chance to read this little thank you. I just received your glorious books a few days ago and have finally pulled myself away from them to thank you! I love your way of expressing your wonderful world. The photographs are the most beautiful. Your deep passion for your garden shows in the beauty you've created.

I felt like it was Christmas, as I unpacked my newly delivered treats and discovered my books were presented in such a loving way! I haven't stopped nodding and smiling agreement, as I slowly take in each page. I am saving your "Garden in Winter" for my first snowfall, as a little sign of appreciation for how you have brought to others, the beauty that we can all find in the colder of months, in our gardens. Once again, thank you for such smiles and thrills as I turn these pages!

Cheers! Laurie


Hi Gina,

Apart from the ketsup not lasting for too long, as people seem to go through it quickly, my own reserves keep in the refrigerator for about 6 months. I haven't kept it in preserve jars for more than a year but can say it lasts at least a year, preserved! I have, in the past, froze it, but am not keen on it's thawed consistancy.(There's a grainy texture to it once thawed.)

The chunkier salsas made from the last of the harvest seem to hold up better, frozen for up to 4 months, than the ketsup does for a 2 month freezing time.


As the internet has been down and the sun has been up, this has been the most opportune time to get cooking and canning. Most of the tomatoes have been harvested and I now have the opportunity to post my home made ketsup recipe!

24 medium size tomatoes

2 medium-large red peppers

2 medium or 3 small yellow onions

1 tsp. of veg or canola oil

2 tbl. sea salt (or to taste)

2 cups brown sugar, or less, to taste

1 quart or malt vinegar. substitutes incl: cider or white vinegar

handful of fresh basil, chopped or 2 tbl. dried basil

1/2 cup mustard or 1 tsp. dry mustard(optional)

Skin tomatoes, by piercing through skins and plunging in boiling water. Remove with slotted spoon when skins begin to pull away from flesh. Run tomatoes under cold water, and remove skins. Cut flesh in quarters, removing seeds and reserving juices in separate bowl.

Place tomatoes in large pot, adding sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat.

While tomatoes are cooking, remove outer skin from onions and wrap onions in foil, along with the tsp of oil. Quarter red peppers, removing seeds and membrane. Place both wrapped onions and peppers in hot (450 f) oven, toaster oven or onto hot bbq grill. Peppers-skin side up in oven, skin side down on grill.

Remove peppers from heat when skins turn black, rinse under cold water, and remove skins.Chop and add peppers to tomatoes in pot, along with vinegar and basil.(and mustard,if used)

When onions are soft, allow to cool a bit, then chop and add to tomatoes.

Allow another 10 minutes of cooking before adding brown sugar, as roasted onions and peppers add their own sweetness..go easy on the brown sugar!

Continue to cook at low (slow) heat until tomatoes are very soft.

Note: if tomato reduction becomes too dry, add some reserved tomato juice, straining out seeds.

Remove from heat and allow to cool until just warm.

Ladle tomato reduction into blender, to half way mark and start blending! Once mixture is smooth, it's ready to be bottled and refrigerated until given out to hungry bbq-ers!

Additions –

add any one of these additions to the cook pot for a different flavor:

roasted garlic, or garlic powder

cinnamon stick

bay leaves



chile peppers

hot sauce

Letting the eyes, nose and taste buds govern over the above additives, allows for personal creativity. Put your own mark on your own home made ketsup!


I am so thrilled and honored that you chose my home made ketsup for August's contest! As I am so used to making it by eyeballing, this next round of bottled sauce will include pulling out the kitchen scale! My next batch is going to be made this Labor Day weekend and I will be sure to write down how much and how many I put into this yummy sauce…and send it over here!

Thank you for giving me the chance to share this as well. I can't wait to get my books! That day will have me getting comfy and settling down to lots of reading. They are signed by Suzy Bales to!!

Thank you!