The first recipe for tomato ketchup was in 1801, but tomato ketchup did not become popular until the mid-19th century. The tomato plant is a member of the deadly nightshade family and many people considered it a deadly poison in the 18th century. Today we’re going to make an 18th century ketchup recipe with mushrooms. This would be a seasoning or a flavor that 18th century soldiers would be very familiar with.
Recipe source: “Savouring The Past” by Jas Townsend and Son
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We need to gently wipe these mushrooms off. We don’t want to rinse them off or wash them, because that added liquid would dilute our final flavors. Chop them into small pieces.
Put the mushrooms in a container that can sit overnight and add a couple spoonfuls of salt to draw the juices out.
In addition to that salt, we’re going to add a couple of bay leaves.
We’re going to mash it up and smoosh these mushrooms down, then we’re going to cover it and then let it set for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes check on your mushrooms to make sure they’ve already started reducing. Cover and set aside overnight in a safe place.
Once the mushrooms have completely soaked, add in 1 chopped up onion, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of finely grated horse radish.
We’re going to use a ¼ teaspoon of cloves, a pinch of cayenne and about ½ teaspoon allspice.
The last ingredient we need is a ¼ – ½ cup of cider vinegar. We’re going to stir up all these things together and then put it over the fire and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Once it is done simmering allow it to cool a bit. Once cool enough pour it through a squeeze cloth into another container and squeeze all the liquid out.
You can save both the liquid, but also the leftover dried mushrooms. You can use the dried mushrooms as is or grind it up to flavor other recipes.
There are some amazing complex flavors in this. You get the salt first, then some of the other spices, and the earthiness of the mushrooms. Some very complex and wonderful flavors. Both the liquid which is the ketchup, and the dried mushrooms and onions were used in other recipes.