Savory-sweet ketchup is a great way to use soft, less-than-perfect cherries—it makes a great stand-in for barbecue sauce in just about any application. If their season has already passed, frozen cherries work just as well. This recipe was developed by Marisa McClellan for her story Beyond Tomatoes: Four Great Fruit Ketchups.
- 2 1⁄2 lb. cherries, pitted
- 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup honey
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
- 1⁄4 tsp. granulated garlic
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1⁄2 cinnamon stick
- 1⁄2 lemon, zested
Combine the cherries, vinegar, honey, and brown sugar in a 6-qt. saucepan and stir to combine. Place over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes, until the fruit is soft.
Remove from the heat and purée; return mixture to the saucepan and add the ginger, salt, cayenne, garlic, cloves, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest. Cook, stirring regularly, for an additional 1 hour 15 minutes, until thickened (remembering that it will thicken more as it cools). Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
To store, pour ketchup into a heatproof container, cool and refrigerate. For longer storage, funnel hot ketchup into clean, warm mason jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. Ketchup will keep for 3–4 weeks in the refrigerator. Processed in mason jars, unopened jars will keep up to a year on the pantry shelf.