Rhubarb Ketchup- Yes! That’s a Thing.

Mr. Food It Yourself is a big fan of ketchup. Commercially prepared ketchup has a few drawbacks, though. It tends to be high in salt and added sugar. Many major brands use high fructose corn syrup, to which Mr. Food It Yourself is intolerant. We have been looking for an easy recipe that we can mix up at home without added sugar and a controlled level of salt. Oddly enough, while looking for ways to use up my plentiful rhubarb crop, I discovered that ketchup can be made with rhubarb.

Rhubarb ketchup recipes abound on the internet. Some use both rhubarb and tomato. Others include carrots or beets to provide sweetness with less refined sugar. I found this simple recipe from Yorkshire, the rhubarb growing capitol of the United Kingdom. Mr. Food It Yourself and I discussed potential sweetening agents to substitute for the 50 g of sugar in the recipe. Neither of us are fond of beets. There are plenty of artificial sweeteners that will stand up to the acidity and cooking time of ketchup making, but Mr. Food It Yourself does not like sucralose or steviol sweeteners, the two most available options where we live. I suggested sweet potatoes. Mr. Food It Yourself countered that we could just use apples. I agreed. So this is what I did:

I weighed out the frozen, chopped rhubarb. I replaced the orange called for in the recipe with a chopped sweet apple, specifically a Honey Crisp apple. I let the rhubarb and apple simmer in just a bit of water while I measured out the spices. I do not know what the recipe writer meant by “mixed spice”; I used Madras-style curry powder. When the apples were soft, I hit the whole thing with my handy stick blender. I added the spices and vinegar and let the whole pot simmer and evaporate and thicken.

After the desired consistence was reached, we did a taste test. Mr. Food It Yourself declared it too tart, and I heartily agreed. I chopped another apple, let it cook, and re-blended. The sweet/tart balance was just right, but the flavor was a bit one-dimensional. After a brief discussion about available items in the spice cabinet, we decided it needed a bit of clove. I added just a pinch, let it cook a bit more, and we made the final taste test. That little pinch of cloves did the trick! The ketchup was moved to a storage container and allowed to cool in the refrigerator. It is ready and waiting to fulfill all our ketchup-related needs.

I learned a lot about ketchup during this process. Did you know that there is also mushroom ketchup, apple ketchup, and banana ketchup? I am also happy that I have a good way to use up all the rhubarb in my freezer. Will we never buy commercially prepared ketchup again? I am not sure, but we will definitely enjoy this rhubarb ketchup.

Have you ever learned something interesting while looking for a solution to a special need in your DIYet? Tell us all about it in the comments!