Rhubarb Ketchup

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!  Don’t remember where I got this recipe but we liked it a lot the first time I made my version of it.  I’ve even used it in making homemade barbecue sauces.

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 & 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 & 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 & 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 & cook for a minute.  Add the tomato paste & cayenne, cooking & stirring for another minute.  Remove from the heat.

Add the chopped tomatoes &  rhubarb “jam” to the pot, allowing mixture to cool for a few 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 & salt, stirring to combine.  If using Dijon instead of mustard seeds add it now.  Submerge the bundle of spices into the mixture & place over medium-low heat, simmering until the mixture has darkened,  has thickened & 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!  Adjust the heat lower if you need to.

Remove the spice bundle to a small plate & cool until able to be handled then squeeze any juices into the ketchup mixture.  Allow the mixture to cool.  Place into bottles or what you have.  The ketchup will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

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