Most of the time when people think of ketchup they imagine a tomato based sauce but there used to be all sorts of catsups. Over the years I’ve made recipes based on mushrooms, apples, currants and I made crab apple catsup on day 266 . I have some Ontario blue grapes and there are two recipes for Grape Catsup in The New Galt Cook Book (1898). I chose the contributed by Mrs. John T. Moore from Toronto. I don’t think I have five pounds of grapes so I’ll probably have to reduce the recipe. I purchased a variety called Coronation at the grocery store although Concord is the type I remember getting at the market a few years back. I’ll have to look for them again but there didn’t seem to be much difference.
Putting the grapes through the colander.
I washed the grapes and pulled them from the stems. Next I weighed them and discovered I had enough to make half the recipe. I put them in a pot and covered it. I kept the heat low at first because I was worried they would burn but they quickly produced juice. Once they had boiled and were cooked I pressed them through a colander. I suspect I was supposed to use something more like a food mill but the colander worked okay. I put the liquid back in the pot and added 1/2 pint (1 cup of vinegar). I weighed the sugar and added 1 1/2 pounds of it. Finally I added 1/2 tablespoon of each of cloves, cinnamon, allspice, pepper and 1/4 tablespoon of salt. I stirred everything and left it to boil. It smelled great. It did thicken a little but not as much as I expected. I decided to remove it from the heat since it might thicken a bit more as it cools. It is time to taste.
Mrs. John T. Moore of Toronto is Annie A. Addison. She was born in Galt Ontario in 1849 to Alexander and Grace. One of her sisters also contributed recipes to this cook book. Their parents were born in Scotland and Alexander was a cabinet-maker in Galt. Annie was 22 when she married John Thomas Moore in 1871. They eventually moved to Toronto where John was an insurance agent. Annie and John had four children. When Annie died of progressive bulbar paralysis in September 1911 they lived at 52 Elm Av.
The spice flavour was hard to detect except for the pepper. This is basically a tart liquid grape jam with the kick of pepper. I liked it but I’m not sure what it would complement. I’m thinking it would be good with some types of meat. Be very careful when working with grapes. I wore old clothes and washed my utensils and surfaces quickly to avoid staining.
Mrs. John T. Moore, Toronto
Five pounds of grapes boiled and colandered, two an a half pounds sugar, one pint vinegar, one tablespoonful each of cloves, cinnamon, allspice and pepper, one-half tablespoonful salt. Boil until it is a little thick.
When I think of making something from crab apples I immediately //imagine small jars of tart crab apple jelly. I certainly don’t think of ketchup/catsup but The New Galt Cook Book from 1898 includes a recipe for Crab Apple Catsup in the Catsup section of the cookbook. It was contributed by Mrs. Wm. Coulthard.
I bought these crab apples at the market on Saturday. So far, I’ve used them for a dessert and now for catsup. The first step was to weigh the crab apples. I didn’t have quite enough to I’m going to reduce the recipe. After washing them I cut the crab apples in quarters and removed the core. I decided to chop the crab apples into smaller pieces before putting them in a pot. I weighed the sugar and added 11 ounces of sugar. Now I had a decision to make. Do I add the vinegar and spices now? I find it hard to imagine boiling the apples and sugar until thick. Won’t they burn without some sort of liquid? Based on other catsup recipes I decided to add everything from the start. So in went 1/2 pint (1 cup) of vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of ground cloves, 1/2 tablespoon of ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I turned up the heat, gave everything a stir and left it to simmer for half an hour before checking on it again. It had cooked down significantly and was thick. The apples had disintegrated so it was time to give it a good stir and sample my crab apple catsup
Mrs. Wm. Coulthard is likely Jane Murray. She was born in Scotland around 1834 and must have come to Canada some time before 1861 since she was listed in the 1861 as the wife of William Coulthard and living in Galt, Ontario. They already have a six-year-old daughter Ellen and another daughter two-year old Eliza so we can assume they were married before 1854. William was a carpenter and later a merchant. He died in 1906 and is listed as a widower so Jane must have died previously.
Crab apple catsup was not what I expected. It was very thick, almost like a jam, but it had the tartness of a pickle. The biggest surprise was the heat! This is a spicy catsup. The pepper and cloves combine to give it some impressive warmth. My lips were tingling long after my first taste. I really don’t know if my crab apple catsup was the same as Mrs. William Coulthard stocked in her cupboard. I think I would wait until later to add the spices since they really darkened the catsup and probably intensified them. How did Mrs. Coulthard use her catsup? Although it looks like marmalade I would never spread it on my toast! I think this would work served like cranberry sauce to accompany pork or beef. Perhaps it could be added to meat juices to glaze a roast. In the 21st century we could put some on a burger for a very different taste experience or serve it with a curry since it is a bit like a chutney. I suggest giving this a try if you have easy access to crab apples. It is different way to use them.
CRAB APPLE CATSUP
Mrs. Wm. Coulthard
Three pounds crab apples, one and a third pounds sugar, boil until thick. One pint vinegar, one tablespoonful ground cloves, one tablespoonful black pepper, one teaspoonful salt.
Today is the last day of April and four months of daily cooking from The New Galt Cook Book (1898). The April showers of the past few days are bringing flowers and hopefully soon there will be some fresh local asparagus and greens to prepare using these recipes. However, in the meantime there are lots of cool weather recipes to try. One of the oddest is a recipe for Mexican Catsup using canned tomatoes. The recipe was contributed by Mrs. G. A. Graham.
I’m including this among the winter recipes since it uses canned tomatoes. I’m making half the recipe and using commercial canned tomatoes rather than home canned ones. I opened two cans of whole tomatoes and put them in a pot along with 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground ginger, 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard and finally 2 cups of vinegar. I was very careful to pay attention to whether these measurements were tablespoons or teaspoons. I left it to cook for ten minutes while I chopped 2 1/2 onions. I added them and gave the catsup a good stir before I left it to simmer. I had no idea how long it would need to cook. I checked after an hour and it had reduced a bit and the onions were getting soft. I should have cut up the tomatoes as they were still in large chunks. I decided to remove it from the heat and taste my Mexican Catsup.
Imperial Hotel ad in the Jubilee Souvener of Galt
Mrs. G. A. Graham is Annie May Nichol. It looks like she was born around 1860 in Toronto. She met and married George A. Graham in 1881. His heritage was Irish and he was a hotel keeper. Their daughter Evelyn Martha was born soon after. Finding out more about this family is a challenge as there seem to be two similar George and Annie Grahams in Ontario. Evelyn married in 1906 and was soon divorced. She married again in 1910.
I have no idea how Mrs. Graham got or created this recipe or why it is called Mexican Catsup, but it is a good find. Do not expect Heinz style ketchup. This is a more liquid ketchup and therefore more typical of the 1890s than today’s thick style. But this is a good sauce. It has a bit of a zing from the red pepper and the ginger but it won’t burn your mouth or even makes your lips tingle. Heat lovers cooking this for their modern taste might want to increase the heat a little. For the rest of us this is a good sauce to use for seasoning other dishes. If you are a fan of home preserving and are anxiously awaiting the first fruits and vegetables of the season, this recipe might tide you over. Pull out those last few jars of home canned tomatoes or buy a few cans and start making some catsup.
Mrs. G. A. Graham
Four cans tomatoes, half teaspoonful red pepper, three tablespoonfuls salt, five tablespoonfuls sugar, two tablespoonfuls ground ginger, three tablespoonfuls cinnamon; one tablespoonful mustard, four cupfuls vinegar. Cook for ten minutes, then add five large onions chopped fine and boil until onions are done.