Having picked up an armload of rhubarb on the weekend, it was time to get busy and cook up our annual batch of rhubarb ketchup! I don’t remember where I got the recipe but we liked it a lot the first time I made it with a tweak here and there. I’ve used it in making homemade barbecue sauces and it was great!
Makes Approx. 4 Cups
6 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup water
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. mustard seeds (I use a tsp. Dijon as Joe can’t have mustard seeds)
2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
½ tsp. allspice berries
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 Tbs. EVO
2 cups chopped onion
1 (6 oz.) tin tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
28 oz. tin of Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
To Make the Ketchup:
In a large pot over medium heat, cook the rhubarb with the 1 cup of water until most of the water has been absorbed and the rhubarb has a soft jam consistency, approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Place in a bowl, set aside until needed. Wipe out the pot.
Take a square of cheesecloth that you have rinsed in water and spread it out on a work surface. Place the peppercorns, mustard seeds (if using), bay leaves, cinnamon stick pieces, allspice berries & whole cloves onto the cheesecloth. Bundle up and tie with kitchen string.
Add the olive oil to the wiped out pot, place over medium heat. Add the onions, sautéing until soft; add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the tomato paste and cayenne, cooking and stirring for another minute. Remove from the heat.
Add the chopped tomatoes and rhubarb “jam” to the pot, allowing mixture to cool for up to 30 minutes. In a blender puree the mixture in 2 or 3 batches, placing in a bowl as pureed. Wipe out the pot again; return the pureed mixture to the pot, add the brown sugar, vinegar and salt, stirring to combine. If using Dijon instead of mustard seeds add it now. Submerge the bundle of spices into the mixture and place over medium-low heat, simmering until the mixture has darkened, thickened and is reduced to about 4 cups, approximately 2 hours, stirring often. I use a spatter guard while this is going on as it does bubble up somewhat! Lower the heat if you need to.
Remove the spice bundle to a small plate and cool until able to be handled then squeeze any juices into the ketchup mixture. Allow the mixture to cool. Place into clean bottles or other glass containers. The ketchup will keep in the fridge for up to a month.