Canning and Preserving Herbs: Mushroom Ketchup


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Makes 4 to 5 half-pints

This spicy condiment and seasoning harks back to the seventeenth century, when the British adapted the Chinese ketsiap, Malaysian kechap, and Indonesian ketjap to local ingredients.

• 3 pounds mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons pickling salt
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 small hot red pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
• 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
• 1/2 teaspooon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 cup sherry vinegar, preferably flavored with a mixture of herbs
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 bay leaf

1. In a large nonreactive bowl, thoroughly mix the mushrooms and salt. Cover and let the mixture stand at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Puree the mushrooms in a blender, food processor, or food mill, then pour into a large, heavy nonreactive kettle.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients, except the bay leaf, in a blender and process until smooth. Stir into the pureed mushrooms, mixing well. Add the bay leaf. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 hours, or until the ketchup is very thick. Remove the bay leaf.

3. Prepare the jars, lids, and boiling-water bath. Fill the jars with the hot, thickened mushroom mixture, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean towel and attach the lids securely.

4. Place the jars in the boiling-water bath, and when the water returns to a boil, process for 15 minutes. Remove the jars, cool, label, and store.

(Adapted from Herbal Vinegar.)

Maggie Oster writes extensively about herbs, food, gardening, cooking, landscape design, flowers, and crafts. Her books include Recipes from an American Herb Garden (New York: Macmillan, 1993) and Herbal Vinegar (Pownal, Vermont: Storey Communications, 1994). When she’s not on the road, she’s in her garden or kitchen in Indiana or Kentucky.

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