Rhubarb ketchup

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I just saw rhubarb for $4.99 a pound at my local co-op. can someone remind me to have a rhubarb harvesting party next year? ’cause i’m sittin’ on a goldmine …er, greenmine? grant it, it was the ‘prettier’ red kind, but i can’t complain. this patch was here when i got here and i have a feeling it will be here long after i am.

it’s the first to wake each year and promptly unfurl it’s lushness over an otherwise barren landscape. (over a month into its return and you can just start to see flecks of green on both the gooseberries and blueberries to the left). it’s arrival signals the start of the new preserving season in earnest and it always offers me this challenge: what am i gonna do with 50 kabillion tons of rhubarb?

Rhubarb ketchup
adapted from preserves: river cottage handbook #2 by pam corbin

4 & 1/2 pounds rhubarb, sliced lengthwise, then to 1/4 inch dice.
4 medium shallots, about 1 & 1/4 cup chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
scant 1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
roasting trays
food mill or sieve
1/2 pint & pint mason jarsyield: 4-5 pints

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees as you are chopping the rhubarb, shallots & garlic

2. place chopped vegetables on 1 or 2 roasting trays and place in oven. if you are using 2 & placing on two racks. switch positions halfway through. roast for approximately one hour until everything is very soft.

3. if you use whole spices (and i strongly suggest that you do, they last longer & taste better!) place them in a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

4. when vegetables are done, push through a sieve or grind through a food mill.

5. place in a heavy bottom sauce pan along with the sugar, vinegar, salt & spices. heat on low until the sugar melts, once melted turn up the heat and bring to a simmer. simmer for 20 minutes or until desired thickness.

6. process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. (note: when filling hot jars, make sure to give the full jar a few taps on the counter before putting the lid on to release any air bubbles) tigress can jam rhubarb: success (i think!)

in the *olden* days peeps used to make ketchup out of many things. whenever i run across an old ketchup recipe that sounds nothing like the tomato-y stuff we are so accustomed to today i’m intrigued. since i have plenty of rhubarb to experiment with i thought, why not? verdict? it’s…interesting. don’t get me wrong, it’s good! it has a pungent tang that is surely more mouth puckering than regular tomato ketchup. the salt and sugar are most definitely needed to balance that effect. the shallots, garlic and spices are a nod in the direction of the condiment we know so well. it’s one of those times where for the last few days i find myself every now and again lifting the opened jar off the fridge shelf and taking a small spoonful. trying to figure out…

learning: what the hell do i use it for? …oh and, in case you’re wondering if i made 50 kabillion tons of rhubarb ketchup – i did not. 🙂

i could not, would not, let a rhubarb season go by without jarring quite a bit of my all time favorite rhubarb preserve; lavender rhubarb jam*

this my dearz, is the shizzle! *pawnote: it was a very cool thing to actually follow the recipe this year from my own blog post. …ok, i know that was a geek moment but tigresses can be geeks too!

humor me!

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