In the past years, when our family was much younger, catsup was a perennial item on the grocery list. We would try to keep a bottle on the shelf, but we sometimes went through it more quickly than I was prepared for. My kids wouldn't eat it on everything, but they did enjoy it alot. These days, we generally use a bottle up in about three months. It's not one of the usual condiments we look for when we prepare burgers, opting instead for things like mayo and pesto, or Annie's Shiitake Dressing, or harissa ( a Middle Eastern pepper spread).
A few weeks ago, while listening to the radio, the announcers talked about Rhubarb Catsup. Now that was a use for rhubarb that had never crossed my radar. I was intrigued, and decided that I needed to try it. One of the reasons we don't care as much for traditional catsup is the level of sweetness in it. With the tart bite of rhubarb, maybe it would balance that out.
I found this recipe online, Rhubarb Catsup, pulled out my kettle, and went to cut some stalks from the patch out back. Soon enough, I had a pot full of a pretty mix of colors and scents.
It was a fast and easy recipe, requiring only a bit of stirring as it cooked down. The recipe says to cook for one hour or until it is thick. Mine was ready in about forty minutes. I let it cool, and then put it into jars to store in the refrigerator.
That night, Paul and I made burgers for dinner, and added a generous dollop to the top. It was very much like traditional catsup, with a good tomato flavor. I couldn't detect the rhubarb as much as I expected, but the pickling spices added some interesting notes, particularly the clove. I especially liked the chunky texture of it, reminiscent of chutney. All in all, an excellent condiment for a bacon cheeseburger.
I plan to make another batch of this before my rhubarb goes to seed. For the next round, I think I will decrease the amount of sugar, and play with the level of spicing, too. I've always wanted to make my own catsup, but never grew enough tomatoes. We may be onto something here. And of course, what should be next? Mustard.....