OK, you've gone out apple-picking, you've picked a bushel or two of apples and another half peck of pears, you've brought them back home, you've made your crumbles, you've served them with cheese, you've developed a 4-6 apple-a-day habit, and still you've got dozens and dozens of apples left. If you had a proper pantry and if this year's crop was heartier it might not be a problem, but you don't have a proper pantry and the unseasonably warm weather of the last few weeks has left this year's apple crop susceptible, to say the least. The question is, what do you do? Well, you start canning [I know, I know: "That's your answer to everything!" Just bear with me.]. I did my part by making a batch of ketchup aux fruits today. I wanted to use a classic Quebecois recipe, so I turned to a recipe I got from my Tante Huguette. I love homemade ketchup, I'm especially fond of ketchup aux fruits, and ketchup aux fruits with baked beans is a true classic in my book. With temperatures starting to dip a bit finally, I've had baked beans on the brain [sounds dangerous, I know, but this condition is easily remedied, I assure you]--naturally, I started to long for ketchup aux fruits, too.
The recipe I used looked like this:
Ketchup fruits et légumes
2 cups tomatoes, blanched and peeled
2 cups onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup pears, peeled and chopped
14 oz. peaches, peeled and chopped
7 oz. celery, minced
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup vinegar
Put all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for one hour. Can in sterilized jars.
Yield: 6 cups
Now I had decided that I wanted to make it more seasonal and therefore replace the peaches with additional apples and pears. I also made a few other changes: I used 3 onions instead of the 2 cups; I used 2 celery stalks instead of the 7 ounces; I used freshly ground "true" cinnamon (from Philippe de Vienne, of course) instead of commercial cinnamon; and, finally, when I adjusted the flavors, I found that the mixture was too vinegary, so I also added 1/4 cup of sugar. I must have changed the recipe fairly substantially, because when all was said and done I wound up with 8 cups of ketchup, not 6 (all the better!).
The ketchup turned out amazingly well, but I have to admit, it looked a little lonely without a batch of baked beans for it to accompany. When I'd gotten the ketchup à point, I turned to today's taste tester--my Dad--and said, "Do you think this would go well with baked beans?" He replied, "Yeah, it would be great with baked beans. But, you know, it'd be even better with baked beans and eggs, the morning after." I like the way this man thinks.