Heart Of The House

Let’s play ketchup with … mushrooms!

Flipping through a recent issue of Gourmet magazine, I was intrigued with a recipe for ketchup made with mushrooms.   “This preserve is a very old recipe and, like all sauces, it will only improve with age.  Give it at least two months before you crack open the jar.”

For most part I followed the recipe as prescribed but made some changes to it to make a lacto-fermented version.  Will it work?  I will tell in a month or 2 when I crack open the jar!


675 gm large flat mushrooms, thinly sliced
30 gm dried porcini mushrooms
500 ml white wine vinegar (I used my own home made vinegar from jabotica)
3 large golden shallots, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
4 whole cloves
3 large mace blades (I used mace powder)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
60 ml  sherry (I used whey from kefir)


  1. Place mushrooms in a large non-reactive bowl, scatter with 41/2 tsp fine sea salt, mix to combine, cover and stand for 24 hours, stirringly occasionally.
  2. One hour before end of salting period, combine porcini and 750ml hot water in a bowl for 1 hour until re-hydrated, then remove with slotted spoon (reserve soaking liquid).
  3. Process porcini in a food processor, add soaking liquid and process to combine, then transfer to a large saucepan.
  4. Process salted mushrooms in a food processor until a smooth puree forms, add to saucepan.
  5. Process 125 ml vinegar with shallot and garlic until finely chopped.
  6. Add to mushrooms, with bay leaves, spices and remaining vinegar.
  7. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are soft and ketchup is thick (1-1-1/2 hrs).  It took me over 2 hours to get it to the right consistency.
  8. To test for consistency, place a spoonful onto a saucer and stand for 10 minutes.  If little or no liquid seeps from the ketchup, the ketchup is ready.
  9. Discard the solids and then process in batches, in a food processor, until very smooth.
  10. Let it cool down slightly and stir through the whey.
  11. Ladle the ketchup into sterilised jars or bottles, leaving a 2 cm gap at the top.
  12. Store in a cool dark place until flavours develop (2-3 weeks).
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