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How to make rhubarb ketchup

 

Last week we were given a great big bundle of homegrown rhubarb stalks, all beautiful green and magenta, so we've been making use of it in all ways imaginable.

And then we ran out of ketchup – something of a crime, given how much we love the stuff! There was an obvious solution at hand: rhubarb ketchup. Ketchup needn't be the red stuff from a squirty bottle. The word ketchup (or, to give it an even quainter name, catsup) refers to a sweet and tangy sauce to serve at the table as a condiment. Mushroom, anchovy, tomato … why not rhubarb?

Fruity, tart and very juicy, rhubarb can ape all the qualities that make tomato a classic ketchup ingredient.

Makes 2 x 450g jars)
700g rhubarb, roughly chopped into 1in batons
1 large white onion, diced 
3 fresh bay leaves
10g fresh ginger, roughly chopped 
3 whole star anise
4 whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
100ml red/white wine/cider vinegar
100ml water
100g sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark four. Spread out the rhubarb, onion, bay leaf and ginger in an even layer on a baking tray.

Bake for about 45 minutes, checking from time to time and stirring so it doesn't catch. Remove when the rhubarb and onions are very soft and broken down.

Meanwhile, toast the star anise, allspice and caraway in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Pound in a pestle and mortar or blitz in a spice grinder.

Blitz the cooked rhubarb mixture, complete with bay leaves and ginger, to a fine pulp in a blender or food processor.

In a saucepan over moderate heat, add the rhubarb pulp, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and ground spices.

Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until you achieve your desired consistency. Stir frequently so the ketchup doesn't catch on the pan. Pass through a fine sieve, if you like (I didn't bother).

Pour the ketchup into sterilised jars and seal.

Sealed well, this ketchup will keep indefinitely. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within a month.

Serve as you might tomato ketchup or, as here, in a cheese sandwich.

Comments

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By: Anna
On: 05/17/2014 14:14:09
Saturday morning, and doing my usual internet perusal before I begin my day. So I check the GC blog and see "rhubarb ketchup" and click the link to read it. Then it hits my conscious mind and I think: "Rhubarb ketchup??? What?? This is madness!" Then I read the article and start to think: "Hmmm... rhubarb ketchup, huh? Well, kind of makes sense, I guess..." I read on. Ok, starting to be convinced. Then I think, "I saw rhubarb on sale at the grocery store and I am going shopping in today anyway". Off I go. When I got back home I am thinking: "Rhubarb ketchup! Wave of the future! The way to go! They are on to something here!" Why not? It is odd. I complain all the time how boring everything is and how I always seem to end up eating the same things. So why not try something like a new condiment that is a spin off of an old reliable favorite we all know? So now I am excited, have all my ingredients lined up and am about to have my first non-tomato based ketchup making adventure. Well, if I am totally honest this is going to be my first any kind of ketchup making adventure. Should be fun to spring this on my family tonight at dinner. I will make a recipe that requires ketchup - like burgers and fries maybe and will wait for the inevitable "Mom, where's the ketchup?" This should be fun! Thanks for the idea!
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By: Kevin
On: 05/17/2014 14:27:40
I didn't realize ketchup was anything but the red stuff in the bottle at the store. I had heard of the word catsup though. I just looked it up. The article is right. It is any tangy sauce and in fact there is a banana ketchup. I am happy to try various sauces, and if they want to be called ketchup, ok by my, but nothing will replace my plain old Heinz ketchup when it comes to a big plate of french fries! I am sure this is pretty tasty though.
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By: Jenny
On: 05/17/2014 17:40:31
This sounds good to me! I have never been crazy about plain ketchup. I find it boring and overwhelming to other flavors. But I like the idea of a tangy, sweetish sauce for food and this would be good I think.
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By: Adam
On: 05/31/2014 20:28:22
Rhubarb ketchup!?! Has the world gone mad? It is madness! Madness I tell you! Ok, well, maybe I should not get so stirred up about ketchup. I am going to have to try this though, since it sounds like a crazy proposal to me, so I will have to try it out. Who knows, maybe it will become my favorite thing and I will end up producing and selling it and will drive the red stuff off the market and I will become rich and famous king of the new ketchup revolution. Unlikely, but if rhubarb ketchup is possible, then anything is possible.
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By: Mr. J.J. James
On: 06/07/2014 10:39:03
I had this in a restaurant once a long time ago. Can't even remember where exactly. It was some small restaurant tucked away in the woods upstate in NY somewhere when I was driving to a camping trip. They had a lot of clever menu items though and this was one of them and I really liked it. I thought they were the most clever people in the world and had invented the idea and have never had it since. Turns out it is actually a recipe! That's great! I can make it myself now. Just have to find some rhubarb.
Gravatar
By: Steve
On: 09/07/2014 11:50:22
Iv never seen a rhubarb. I thought it was just a kind of pie. is it fruit? what is it? I like learning new things.

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