Damson Ketchup

It’s barbecue season again, and when I have friends around, they’re sometimes surprised to see that tomato ketchup isn’t on the table.  I’ve nothing against tomato ketchup, I just haven’t been bothered to buy any since I’m sitting on several liters of Damson Ketchup from last year’s damson harvest.

Once they get over their initial reaction of, “Damson what?”, and try it, most are pleasantly surprised by the tangy fruity flavor.  So open your mind to a burger sauce with a difference!

This was adapted from Delia Smith’s Plum Ketchup recipe.


  • 3.6 kg damsons (or other plums),
  • 225 g currants,
  • 500 g onions, peeled and diced,
  • 1.2 l distilled white vinegar,
  • 50 g sea salt,
  • 500 g demerara sugar,

Tie the following spiced into a piece of muslin or gauze:

  • 3-4 tsp dried chili flakes,
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns,
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds,
  • 10 g fresh root ginger, peeled and grated,
  • 1 tsp ground allspice,
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole.


  1. Make sure the damsons are ripe, as they are easier to pit.
  2. Slit the damsons with a sharp knife and remove the stones, then place them in a large heavy based pan and add the currants, onions and the bag of spices.
  3. Add half the vinegar and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is soft.
  4. Remove the spice bag, and blend the contents of the pan with a stick blender until smooth. Return the spice bag to the pan and add the remaining salt, sugar and vinegar.
  5. Bring back to simmering, and cook gently, uncovered for an hour and a half to two hours, or until the ketchup has reduced to about 2 liters.
  6. Stir the pot occasionally to prevent the ketchup from catching on the pan.
  7. Pour into sterilized jars or bottles and seal. Leave to cool before serving.

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