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Hard Plum Ketchup

Hard Plum Ketchup
Hard Plum Ketchup

This was my second ketchup, built on a template provided by this recipe from British celebrity chef Delia Anne Smith. The first time I tried it I really wanted a French fry to dip into it. Use it on meats, and for dipping into various baked and fried goodies ranging from samosas to cauli tots to sweet potato fries.


  • 2 pounds plums or pluots
  • 2 ounces currants
  • 1/4 pound onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 pint hard cider
  • 0.5 ounces sea salt (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 pound demerara sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 inch fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced into discs
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed


1Wash plums. Slice in half, removing pits, labels, and any bad spots. Arrange face down on a steel baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake until they are soft and expressing liquid. If you space them very closely it may take a little longer for them to soften, but there is less chance for the caramelizing liquids to progress to burning. (Don’t use parchment paper as it will trap too much of the valuable juice and sugars.) Remove from oven.

2When cool enough to safely handle, transfer plums to a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Scrape the baking pan with a metal spatula and transfer that deliciousness to the pot as well. Add onions, garlic, currants, vinegar, hard cider, sugar and salt to the pot, and bring the mixture to a simmer.

3Place spices in a wrapping of cheese cloth, or—if you have one—a large tea ball. Submerge this savory parcel into the mixture and simmer for about an hour.

4Remove the spice parcel and the ginger, setting on a small plate to drain. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool sufficiently. Return any goodness drained from the spice parcel or ginger to the pot, then run the pot contents through a blender, food processor, or food mill until smooth. CAUTION: very hot liquid in a blender or food processor can expand explosively.

5If canning, return to heat and proceed as your great grandmother might have. Otherwise, store in the fridge, where it should last for months.

See also: Pro Tips for Ketchup Crafting


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