Fruit Ketchup – Ketchup aux Fruits

This recipe certainly takes me back to my childhood. Mom would make a fruit ketchup at the end of summer when peaches and tomatoes are at their peak. She would make huge batches in two large cauldrons and the mixture of vinegar and spices smell permeated throughout the entire house. She would wrap all the spices in cheese cloth and would cook the chutney-like ketchup ever so slowly. Of course, we were not allowed to touch them until they have had a chance to mature a little, but what a feast it was when we could finally open a jar of cold ketchup and serve it alongside a grilled meat or a meat pie. Those recipes are almost gone today, as making chutneys and ketchups require the luxury of time. But, just like family traditions, language and culture, I believe heirloom family recipes should be preserved and maintained. Just like fashion, they come back eventually with a different interpretation; case in point; shrimp cocktail disappeared after the 70s to come back in full force in the form ceviche.

We are lucky to have wonderful markets in Montreal. We particularly enjoy Jean-Talon market, in the Italian district which also has one of the best coffee in this entire, at Cafe Italia a few blocks away. We also like to frequent Atwater market, which, amongst many great stalls of fruits and vegetables, but also has one of the best cheese monger in the city. Whether you go in the summer when local fruits are abundant or in the fall, when all the pumpkins, gourds and root vegetables appear, it is always a treat to pick the very best and talk with the producers for whom I have the utmost respect. Either one, a feast for the eyes and the soul.

1 Liter (4 cups) peeled and chopped tomatoes (San Marzano work beautifully)
1 Liter (4 cups) peaches peeled, pit removed and roughly chopped
500 Ml (2 cups) peeled apples and roughly chopped
250 Ml (1 Cup) onion roughly chopped
1/4 Liter (1 Cup) cauliflower florets
3 Garlic cloves finely minced
1 Cup Brown Sugar
250 Ml (1 Cup) whine vinegar
2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Salt – 1 Teaspoon Pepper (I use freshly ground pepper)
1 Teaspoon ground clove
1/2 Teaspoon allspice (Piment de Jamaique) – I often use ground allspice, which I use 1 Teaspoon
1 Teaspoon white Mustard seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper or Espelette

The most complicated part of this recipe is chopping the fruits and vegetables. Once done, pour all the ingredients in a heavy base pot and set the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about an hour. Stir every now and then to check on the consistency. The mixture will appear very liquid, but the addition of brown sugar will help thicken the ketchup.
It is that simple. After an hour, the mixture should start to thicken and have the density of thick tomato ketchup.
I use Mason jars and put them in the dishwasher. As soon as the cycle is done, use the hot jars and pour the ketchup and seal properly. Leave at room temperature and when they are cool enough, place them in the fridge for a few days, until they have had a chance to ‘mature’.
Serve with grilled meat, terrines, patés, meat pies…
Makes about 4 medium size jars.
Most people prefer to cover all the spices in cheese cloth, but I personally prefer to leave them loose and truly impart their flavours throughout.

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