Recipe: plum ketchup
This past July, I was interviewed via Skype by Gabriel Soh for The Dinner Special podcast. Despite being in the depths of puppy training sleep deprivation, I am moderately coherent. If you’d like to have a listen, hop on over to the interview, but do come back for the recipe!
I suppose that whole adolescence regression episode was bound to happen when I would be alone with Neva. Things that used to not bother her now bother her. Trying to put her harness on has become quite an ordeal – like bargaining with someone who doesn’t speak your language. It’s come down to manhandling her to put the harness on so we can go outside to do the thing she loves most… which is to go outside. Once outside, Neva acts like she’s never seen a human being, a dog, a cat, a leaf, a car, a bike, ANYTHING before in her life and she flips out like she’s going to die if she doesn’t run up and jump on its head. I found myself wondering if Kaweah had been this difficult as a puppy because my memory of her is dominated by the sweet, gentle, and calm senior dog she was most recently. I’m pretty sure Kaweah made me crazier than Neva makes me – just in different ways. I’m also thinking that it may be the 10 days of heavily reduced activity. Maybe she’s gone off the deep end without her regular exercise? I get that way, too.
she’s probably ready for longer walks
The colors that I can see from the walks around the neighborhood are on their way out, or rather, the leaves are falling. Swaths of gold mantling the hillsides are giving way to the silent gray stands that will last us through May. Most of my photographer pals migrated south to the San Juans earlier this week (but not before I fed some of them peach pie cinnamon rolls!). I’ll not be in on that action this year. It’s just me, Neva, and whatever I can snap when I have a random moment.
a cathedral of gold
fingers of color intermingled with conifers
This week appears to have a common theme in my recipes – fruit at the end of its season. On the same trip to the farm store when I got those peaches and my second batch of tomatoes, I picked up something else on impulse. While waiting for the tomatoes to be loaded into a box and weighed, I walked over to the table that had the peaches. As I picked out four pounds of peaches, I smelled what can only be described as candy. Putting a peach to my nose, I took a whiff, but it wasn’t the peach. Looking around at the baskets of fruit, I flew in low and inhaled, eventually honing in on a basket of tiny golf ball-sized plums. The fellow sorting the tomatoes told me that the plums not only smelled like candy, but tasted like candy, too. I bought 2 pounds. I knew I wanted to make plum ketchup, but I made sure I had extras for snacking on straight up. Once in the car, I rubbed one clean on my shirt and took a bite – which was half of the plum, but could have easily been the whole fruit. It was like no plum I had ever tasted before.
these are bubblegum plums
I emailed the farm to find out what variety of plum I had stuffed into my pie hole and they responded that these are bubblegum plums from the western slope – western Colorado – where our luscious peaches are grown. My intention was to make plum ketchup with the Italian plums that my Costco carries around now, but they had yet to show up. Short on time, I used my bubblegums on the ketchup recipe while popping a couple of the extra plums for a snack. This plum ketchup is much easier than my tomato ketchup recipe. You can use most any variety.
brown sugar, ginger, plums, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, salt, cider vinegar
dice the plums
ready to purée and cook
To purée the fruit and aromatics, I first used a food processor. The end result was a slightly chunky ketchup, which I was on the fence about. I decided to give it a blitz in my Vitamix blender which turned it into a lovely, smooth ketchup. So if you like more texture in your ketchup, then use the food processor. I’m definitely a happy resident of the smooth ketchup camp. Anyway, it’s basically a matter of puréeing the plums, onion, garlic, and ginger, then placing all of the ingredients in a pot to simmer for 30 minutes.
purée the plums, onion, ginger, and garlic
food processor results in chunkier texture, use a good blender for smoother ketchup
place everything in a medium saucepan
simmer for 30 minutes
here it is after i sent it through the vitamix
My plum ketchup ended up a little on the sweet side, probably because of the incredible sweetness of the original bubblegum plums which are an order of magnitude sweeter than Italian plums. Next time I’ll either use Italian plums or reduce sugar if I use bubblegum plums. Still, it was a refreshingly bright and complex ketchup – different from what I’m used to, but deliciously so. If you’re looking to change up your normal routine, give plum ketchup a try. It’s fast, easy, fun, and tasty.
modified from this recipe
1 to 1.5 lbs. plums, pitted and quartered
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
2 tbsps peeled ginger, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Place the plums, garlic, onion, and ginger in a food processor or blender and purée. Place the purée in a medium saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring the ketchup to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool and refrigerate for up to 2 months. Makes 3 to 3.5 cups.
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