Strawberry Ketchup

If you are experiencing the summer we’re having in Iowa, strawberries might be in season for you.  And, if you are like me, you might be looking for some new ways to cook with and/or serve them to others.  Well, I was looking through my copy of the Smoke and Pickles cookbook and came across this recipe for strawberry ketchup.  It was just intriguing enough that I knew I wanted to make it and try it out.  Thus far, I’ve tasted it on its own and with beef, and it hasn’t disappointed in either setting.  I think it could compete with a number of other spices going on in a meat, and so I would be hesitant to serve it alongside a heavily-seasoned meat item, but it’s definitely not sweet enough to be confused with a jam or jelly.

The ketchup has a nice sweetness, without being overpowering, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I imagine setting it on the table at a barbecue and having people put a little dab on their plate, but then enjoying it enough to go back for more.

I will say that I ended up cooking it for quite a bit longer after pureeing it and adding the other seasonings because I wanted to thicken it up more than it automatically did during the cooking process.  Take that into consideration, should you choose to make it as well.

Strawberry Ketchup

Strawberry Ketchup

1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled, sliced or halved
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine the strawberries, onion, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a small pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 14 minutes, until the strawberries are soft and broken down.

Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and puree on high.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Discard the solids.

Add the white vinegar, ginger, salt, white pepper, paprika, cumin, and cloves.  Whisk well.  Transfer to two small jars, cover, and refrigerate.  The ketchup will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.

Good Ketchup

Over the last several weeks, we kept getting tomatoes from our CSA.  I am not a big fan of tomatoes as they are, so instead, I have been freezing and saving for an ideal time to make ketchup.  And, one Sunday, while I was working on some other things around the house, I spent a few hours making ketchup.  It ended up tasting pretty decent.  I might make a few tweaks, and I think using yellow tomatoes made a big difference in making the tomatoes taste delicious.  I used the recipe from Canning for a New Generation, a great book for some inventive canning recipes.  The recipe is titled, “Good Ketchup” and I did not have any issues with this.  I’ve included my slight modifications in parantheses.

Good Ketchup

Makes about 4 Half-Pint Jars

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

7 pound tomatoes, chopped

½ c cider vinegar

½ c packed brown sugar or honey, or ½ c agave nectar (I used honey)

2 tsp pure kosher salt

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp ground cayenne

In a wide preserving pan (kettle), heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and soft but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes.  Pass the mixture through a strainer or a food mill fitted with the disk with the smallest holes to remove the seeds or puree the mixture in a blender in batches and then push it through a sieve (I used an immersion blender).

Rinse out the kettle and return the puree to the pan.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the solids from sticking at the bottom, until thick; this could take as long as 2 hours, depending on your patience and your need for thickness. (I used the full two hours.)  Taste, and add more vinegar or sugar as nece3ssary.

Ladle the hot ketchup into the jars, leaving ¼ inch head space at the top.  Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar.  Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 20 minutes to process.  Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours.  After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately.  Label the sealed jars and store.