Rhubarb ketchup

A few years ago I edited Hawksmoor at Home, a cookery book produced by the high-end steakhouse chain. Recipes included their wonderful home-made tomato ketchup based on tinned (or very ripe) tomatoes, tinned apples or pears, spices, vinegar and sugar.

Last autumn I had access to a lot of late season rhubarb and realised that it, too, could be transformed into a tangy ketchup. It’s not the most beautiful looking condiment – quite like a spreadable brown sauce, but tastes amazing, particularly with sausages or bacon sandwiches. It’s also great with cheese. This recipe is based on one from The River Cottage Handbook on Preserves by Pam Corbin.

2kg rhubarb, sliced into short lengths
250g red onions, chopped
3–4 cloves garlic
100ml cider vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
100g Demerara sugar
Warm sterilised jars

Arrange the rhubarb, onions and garlic on a baking tray and slow roast at 180°C for about an hour until soft. Remove the skins from the garlic and sieve the mixture into a heavy based saucepan.

Stir in the vinegar and spices and gently heat the mixture over a low flame until it starts simmering. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved and cook the ketchup until it has reduced to a thick consistency. This won’t take long as the rhubarb purée is already thick. During this final stage I checked the seasoning, adding more spices to pep up the flavour.

Allow to cool slightly then pot the ketchup in little jars. Label, store away and enjoy. However, once opened, keep in the fridge.


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