Many recipes from old cookbooks called for mushroom ketchup – especially meat recipes. I had never heard of mushroom ketchup.
Be aware that there are many poisonous mushrooms in the wild, so don’t pick any if you’re not an expert. Also, old recipes may not be considered safe by today’s cooking standards.
TO MAKE MUSHROOM KETCHUP
Recipe is from the 1864 Poetical Cook-Book.
Look out for mushrooms from the beginning of September. Take care of the right sort and fresh gathered. Full-grown flaps are to be preferred. Put a layer of these at the bottom of a deep earthen pan and sprinkle them with salt. Then another layer of mushrooms, and some more salt on them, and so on, alternately, salt and mushrooms. Let them remain two or three hours, by which time the salt will have penetrated the mushrooms and rendered them easy to break.
Then pound them in a mortar, or mash them well with your hands, and let them remain for a couple of days, not longer, stirring them up, and mashing them well each day. Then pour them into a stone jar, and to each quart add an ounce and a half of whole black pepper, and half an ounce of allspice. Stop the jar very close, and set in a stewpan of boiling water, and keep it boiling for two hours at least.
Take out the jar, and pour the juice, clear from the settlings, through a hair sieve (without squeezing the mushrooms) into a clean stewpan and let it boil very gently for half an hour. Those who are for superlative ketchup, will continue the boiling till the mushroom juice is reduced to half the quantity. There are several advantages attending this concentration: it will keep much better, and only half the quantity required, so you can flavor sauce and soup without thinning it. Skim it well and pour it into a clean dry jar or jug. Cover it close, and let it stand in a cool place till next day, then pour it off as gently as possible (so as not to disturb the settlings at the bottom of the jug), through a thick flannel bag, till it is perfectly clear. Add a tablespoonful of good brandy to each pint of ketchup, and let it stand as before. A fresh sediment will be deposited, from which the ketchup is to be quietly poured off and bottled in pints or half pints (which have been washed in brandy or spirits). It is best to keep it in such quantities as are soon used.
Take especial care that it is closely corked and sealed down. If kept in a cool dry place, it may be preserved for a long time; but if it be badly corked and kept in a damp place, it will soon spoil. Examine it from time to time, by placing a strong light behind the neck of the bottle, and if any pellicle appears about it, boil it up again with a few peppercorns.
Recipe from the 1864 Poetical Cook-Book.
~~ Have You Ever Heard of Mushroom Ketchup? ~~