For most of its history, ketchup was a pretty freewheeling condiment. Before the tomato variety conquered all, early versions of the recipe centered on mushrooms, nuts, and a dizzying array of seafood (pickled, fermented, and otherwise).
And while a lot of those old ketchups wouldn’t be great on a burger, experimenting with the beloved condiment is still a great idea. Thus, I made this Peach Ketchup both as a homage to the wild ketchups of yore and a showcase for a favorite summer fruit.
The secret to a good ketchup lies in the interplay between sweet and tangy ingredients with some spicy notes beneath it all. In this version, peaches and a little brown sugar provide the sweetness while apple cider vinegar gives a bit of tang. A bit of garlic and onion round out the flavor, while spices lend an enticing aroma. Once it’s cooked down, the flavors of the Peach Ketchup hit on many of the same notes as a typical tomato ketchup, but with a more complex sweet and savory flavor, and fruity notes from the peaches.
This ketchup recipe packs in a lot of flavor and would be suitable as an accompaniment for all kinds of summer favorites like roasted potato wedges (pictured below), hamburgers, or hot dogs, but is versatile enough to add flavor and spice to everything from rice to grilled cheese — essentially, it’s perfect as a substitute for traditional ketchup but also works beautifully as a chutney. My daughters loved it with their fries (and even went in for a few straight spoonfuls when they thought I wasn’t looking).
A good ketchup — peach or otherwise — should be assertively flavored. Keep in mind that its role is to enhance the flavors of other dishes, not to be eaten on its own, so go for bold flavors.
Makes: about 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1 dried Thai chili
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar, plus up to 2 tablespoons more, as needed
- 2 cups peaches, peeled and chopped (2 large or 3 medium)
- Set a heavy bottomed, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the onion. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Next, add brown sugar, molasses, Thai chili, mustard powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, and salt. Finally, add the apple cider vinegar and peaches.
- Turn heat to medium-high, bring mixture to a boil, and then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and peaches break down.
- Remove the chili and carefully puree the mixture, either in a blender or food processor. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar or water to thin mixture. Return ketchup to skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Spoon into a bottle, allow mixture to cool, seal, and then refrigerate.
Note: ketchup will keep well sealed in the fridge for up to three weeks.