Rhubarb Catch Up

Here’s an early recipe for July 4. (Enjoy it: this will probably be the only time you’ll get a recipe early from In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens!)
I’m not exactly a champion griller. In fact, as listeners to WFCR, our local public-radio station, learned a couple of years ago, I’ve been known to light an outdoor fire that almost turned into … well … an outdoor fire.
Condiments for grilled foods I can manage, however. And lately I’ve had a hankering to make some rhubarb ketchup (or catsup or however you want to spell it).
I’ve tried a couple of different formulas, and this is the best so far. It doesn’t taste like tomato ketchup. Why should it? It’s a lightly sweet, lightly spiced sauce that would be lovely with pork.
My spices came courtesy of Kalustyan, a wonderful spice company that has a retail outlet in New York City (yes, it will ship spices to you!). I particularly love Kalustyan’s aromatic cinnamon. And its mixture of pickling spices was just right for this recipe.
I can’t tell you yet how long this ketchup will last in the refrigerator since I made it less than a week ago. I don’t think I’d push it more than two weeks or so. So if you would like to try it as a condiment for Independence Day you should wait a little while to make it.
On the other hand, like me, you might want to make some now and some later. It really was tasty last night! I pan grilled chicken cutlets and served them with fresh peas with mint and maple-rhubarb coleslaw.
While you’re making your ketchup, do listen to my WFCR grilling broadcast. I’m not in great voice when I sing (and the less said the better about my piano playing), but my mother’s childhood memories are fun.
And Truffle’s cheerful bark more than makes up for my shortcomings! She really knows how to celebrate Independence Day.
Rhubarb Ketchup
3 cups rhubarb (in small pieces!)
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup apple cider plus 1/2 cup later
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon pickling spices
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few turns of your pepper grinder
In a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan, toss together the rhubarb and brown sugar.
In a tiny nonreactive saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup cider and the vinegar. When they come to a boil remove them from the heat and stir in the ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and pickling spices.
Let the two pans sit at room temperature for 2 hours. The rhubarb should juice up a little, and the spices should steep nicely in the liquid.
After the resting period add the spices and their liquid to the rhubarb. Toss the remaining cider into the pot that held the spices to pick up any remaining spices, and add it to the rhubarb as well. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and boil the resulting sauce, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Turn off and let cool.
In a blender or food processor puree the cooled ketchup. Ladle it into a sterilized jar or two and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups ketchup.

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8 Responses to “Rhubarb Catch Up”

  1. What fun to hear you on the radio…and Truffle too!

  2. tut-tut says:

    I love this sort of thing, Tinky (btw, you do know this is my blogger id; on FB I’m Beth Morel . . .)

  3. Sue Haas says:

    Rhubarb Ketchup sounds like a wonderful, seasonal alternative to the store-bought kind. Probably freezes, too? Nice hearing your voice–both speaking and singing–on the radio link! One of these days I’ll meet you in person.
    I also read your Rhubarb Coleslaw recipe and I’m will make it for a potluck meeting this week. Thanks!

  4. ceecee says:

    We’ll be bbqing pork this weekend and i think this will be a perfect partner with it! thx

  5. Grad says:

    Tinky, never aquired a taste for Rhubarb. I think I must have had it once and the experience wasn’t a pleasant one. I hate that there is any food I won’t eat, but I think Rhubarb has to be up there (along with turnips). I will give one of your recipes a try, though, to see if I can get over the “shudder factor” I have with Rhubarb.

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    Grad, as I mentioned in the upside-down cake post, I used to feel that way, too. I’d start with either that cake or the salsa (well, maybe the crumble, although it IS more rhubarby than most). I hope I can convert you! Ceecee and Sue, let me know how your cooking comes out. Beth and Abigail, thanks; we aim to please…….

  7. Up to the point when you said to puree the rhubarb, I though it was going to be like chutney. Another recipe to save to try out!! Haven’t got time just now to listen to your link (it’s 8.30 am and I have a busy day ahead!!) but I’ll listen later!

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    The first version I made was very chutney like, Frayed–quite spicy and hearty. (I used about five times as much pickling spice!) But somehow to me ketchup should be something kids will like–and my personal youthful taste tester would not have touched it. So that’s how I ended up here……

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