Canning and Preserving Herbs: Mushroom Ketchup

| August/September 1995

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.

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