Cranberry ketchup is a surprisingly versatile table sauce. Tangy and fruity, it can be used like tomato ketchup on top of meatloaf or burgers (especially turkey and pork burgers), or slathered on grilled chicken like barbecue sauce. I think it has a superior texture to tomato ketchup because its pectin makes it naturally unctuous.
I got on a kick with preserving cranberries after our office Christmas party where they were used as decoration. They were too good to discard but, as I found out, they were plentiful. I came home with over 6 pounds! As I’ve often said, there’s nothing like excess to encourage experiments. In addition to cakes and muffins, I made a wonderful jam of cranberries, orange peel, ginger and pecans that I’ve published before. And then the ketchup.
My only caution is to watch how long the sauce cooks after the sugar, vinegar and spices are added. Cranberries have so much pectin that the sauce will gel fast, and you want to be able to pour it. Worst case, it can be slightly warmed up or even diluted to return it to a more liquid state.
Cranberry Ketchup adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
8 c whole fresh cranberries
1½ c chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c water
2 c brown sugar
¾ c cider vinegar
1½ tsp dry mustard
¾ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or more if you want it slightly hot
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine cranberries, onion, garlic and water, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring. Reduce the heat and boil gently until the berries pop, about 6 minutes. Working in batches, puree the cranberry mixture in a food processor until smooth.
Prepare canner and jars for water-bath canning.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is almost the consistency of commercial ketchup, about 20-30 minutes.
Ladle hot ketchup into the prepared jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Clean jar rims and cap with two-piece lids. Process for 15 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Turn off heat, remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes before moving the jars to a counter to sit undisturbed until cool.
Makes 6 eight-ounce jars (or use a combination of four-ounce and eight-ounce jars).