Foraginglondon's Blog

For all your foraging needs in London

Elderberry Ketchup recipe 21/10/2012

I haven’t been the best at posting my various food foraging experiences, and apologise for that. Shira & I picked over 5 kilos of elderberries several weeks ago in and around the Hatfield Business Park area, as well as closer to home, which is now Brickendon (our home for about a year now), and now alas London. Please note that all of the recipes and experiences I post about can be found in London as well, so it’s relevance is not lost for you Londoners. My main learning point has been that Brickendon is higher up than London as well as being in the countryside, and this does make a significant difference to the seasons of weeks.

Having picked the elderberries I proceeded to make elderberry syrup which is well documented on the internet. Elderberry Ketchup is less so, though some seem to think that Pontac (various spellings) sauce is one in the same thing. I made Pontac sauce last year and left it very liquidy as a viable alternative to worcestershire sauce. Pontac sauce is a more fruity experience and supposed to improve with age (some talk about 7 years before it’s pinnacle is reached). This post’s main aim is not to debate or conclude this point, but to focus on the experience of making Elderberry Ketchup.

Learning point number 2 is that I made this ketchup two years ago, and the same friend who devours my Sloe Gin annually has an equal appreciation and appetite for the ketchup. The problem is that I didn’t write down the method last time and I haven’t been able to work out which recipe I used.

There seems to be a few recipes, and I’ve linked them below for convenience:

Elderberry Catsup Recipe from Britain

Simply Cookit Elderberry Ketchup

Prince of Wales Ketchup

I have used Wild Edible Texas verison

Below is the recipe and method from the website with my photos and comments

  • 4 c elderberries
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ c distilled white vinegar
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
Wash the elderberries and remove the stems. Heat onion and vinegar in a saucepan until boiling, then simmer for 15-25 minutes or until the onions are tender.
I used malt vinegar as that’s what I had available.
Remove from heat and add the berries. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Mash the berry mixture gently with a potato masher. Press through a sieve. (note: A cone ricer or cone sieve works really well when attempting to extract fruit pulp.)

I used this mouli to pass the vinegar, onion and elderberries through

I used the smallest blade, and whilst it prevented the elderberry pips getting through I’m not sure if I managed to get any pulp through, which left me with a pure liquid, and think my previous attempt two years ago had more ‘body.’ Therefore if I made it again I might use a sieve as the next setting up will probably allow the pips through.
Put fruit pulp back into a clean saucepan and add sugar and other spices. Simmer until it thickens, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.

Once the spices and sugar was added I needed to stir it so it mixed together.

It takes a significant period of time for the liquid to reduce down so you get a ketchup type consistency. Be careful when doing this as you can easily burn a pan (previous experience).
Serve fresh or fill sterilized jars, place caps on the jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
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