Damson ketchup

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This easy damson ketchup recipe is lightly spiced with star anise, cinnamon and cloves for a fruity, sweet and warming flavour. It's especially good in a bacon sandwich, is heavenly with cheese and works with pretty much everything tomato ketchup does!

First published in 2019

Damsons are naturally sweet and sour, which make them an excellent candidate for a ketchup. We like to add a little beetroot which lends an earthy flavour, mellowing out the sourness of the damsons. It also acts as a thickener, giving your ketchup a lovely glossy texture.

As the damsons themselves are sour, we haven't added much vinegar, meaning the shelf life isn't as long as other preserves – but it does freeze well if you've made a big batch.





Begin by halving and removing the stones from the damsons
Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and add the onions, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. Season with a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are soft and translucent
Add the damsons with the cooked beetroot, vinegar, sugar and water and simmer for 10–15 minutes or until the damsons have broken down and released their juices

Transfer the contents of the pan (discarding the whole spices and bay leaf, unless you want a very spiced flavour) to a blender and blitz for a few minutes until you're left with a smooth purple ketchup

Taste and season with salt. Damsons can vary in their sourness so you may want to adjust sugar levels or add a splash more water until you are happy with the taste
Leave to cool then store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

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