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Take that, Heinz

Mustard, relish, ketchup

Nearly every year, we give away some sort of hand-made food product for the holidays. In the past, we've given jams, chutneys and pasta sauce. This year, we decided to take on the holy trinity of American condiments: Ketchup, mustard and relish. After all, why pay less than two dollars in the grocery store for what you can make at nearly equivalent cost plus hours of back-breaking labor? 

Why? Because we can. Because there is more to this delicious life than the flavors served to us by the major food manufacturers. And because when you take the most basic things back into your own hands, you can apply your own stamp to them.



The genesis for this project was when I saw Sarah waxing rhapsodic on Twitter about a maple black pepper ketchup she made, the recipe for which she then shared at my behest (and which I of course had to tinker with). Meanwhile, we've been meaning to make mustard for some time now. What's left? Why, relish of course, and we had just made up a big batch of delicious sweet yellow squash pickles from a cookbook given to us by the lovely Amy. It's a small step to go from sweet pickles to sweet pickle relish. We availed ourselves of the final harvest of summer squash and set to work. (Sidenote: I tried, oh how I tried, to find locally harvested mustard seed, but evidently the much-vaunted mustard of Napa county is mainly for show. The seeds I got came from San Francisco Herb Co. So, that makes them locally sourced, right?)

And so the plan was hatched: Classic American flavors, each with a twist — Maple bourbon ketchup, tarragon Dijon mustard and sweet yellow squash relish. Sorry, hot dogs not included.

Maple Bourbon Ketchup
Adapted from Cafe Mama

26 oz tomato purée
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp bourbon
1 tsp black peppercorns
7-8 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce

Bring tomato purée, syrup, bourbon and salt to simmer. Wrap peppercorns, cardamom and coriander in cheesecloth and add to tomatoes. Simmer for a few hours, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until it darkens, thickens and is reduced by about 1/3. Add vinegar and fish sauce, and stir to combine. Refrigerate or can as desired.

Sweet Yellow Squash Relish
Adapted from A Love Affair with Southern Cooking: Recipes and Recollections by Jean Anderson

3 to 3.5 lbs yellow squash, sliced to 1/4" discs
4 to 4.5 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. kosher salt
3/5 c. sugar
2 c. white distilled vinegar
2 c. cider vinegar
2 tsp mustard seed
1-3/4 tsp celery seeds
1-3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 packet pectin

Layer the squash and onions, salting each layer with kosher salt, in a large nonreactive bowl. Let stand in sink for 3 hours. Drain the squash and onions, transfer to a large colander and rinse well under cold water. Place a bowl over the vegetables, and add a couple cans of tomatoes or whatever you have on hand to weigh the bowl down to squeeze out as much of the water as possible.

Bring the sugar, vinegars, mustard and celery seed and turmeric to a rolling boil in a large nonreactive stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the squash and onion. Bring back to the boil, stirring gently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer the pickles in batches to a food processor, and pulse until broken down to a fine, even consistency. 

Return the processed relish to a pan and bring back to a boil. Add the pectin and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and refrigerate or can as desired.

Tarragon Dijon mustard
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 c. yellow mustard seed
1 c. brown mustard seed
1-2/3 c. crisp white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
1-2/3 c. white wine vinegar
4 shallots, minced
several sprigs tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. The mustard seeds will swell and absorb the liquid. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until the desired smoothness; if you want a very smooth mixture, let the mixture stand longer in the fridge prior to processing, to soften the mustard seeds more. Refrigerate or can as desired.

Relish, ketchup, mustard

This Post Has 39 Comments
  1. I fell for Sarah’s ketchup twitterings too.
    Such lucky gift receivers. I’m sure they won’t mind picking up their own hot dogs.

  2. great idea – homemade is always lovely!
    Where did you find those cute, squat jars? I must have some for next year’s canning….

  3. I am totally psyched about this post since I spent a good chunk of time yesterday looking for a mustard recipe – the ketchup combination also sounds amazing – Any thoughts on throwing the ketchup in your pressure cooker to cut down on the cooking time?

  4. I can not wait for the New Year and things to settle down. I am looking forward to trying these. I also give homemade food gifts for the holidays. If I can pull these off, my friends will be beyond impressed!! Thank you for the post.

  5. Dolores: I’m always up for swapping!
    Dayna: Ooh, did you make the ketchup? It’s good stuff.
    Jeanne: Cute tho the jars are, having used them I am now not a fan. They do not stack like normal jars (design flaw) and we had more non-sealers than normal. But they are cute!
    Gudrun: I got them on Amazon, if you’re willing to deal with the above mentioned issues.
    Raidar: Thanks!
    Sue Bette: What an interesting idea. I think it might shorten the cooking time, but will not allow it to reduce and thicken, which is key. But maybe in the slow cooker?
    Gin: I think you’ll find them rather easy, actually. Have fun!

  6. Wow, that’s really cool! I’ve never even considered making my own condiments, but I suppose it’s not too hard and much healthier since you know exactly what’s going into it.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. gaga: Exactly! I was surprised at how easy the ketchup was, actually. It always struck me as something unapproachable.
    Jennifer: Think of me every time you eat a hot dog. Actually, don’t.
    Robin: Can you? I’ve found the standard Ball/Kerr jars, but haven’t seen anything more fancy like this. But I guess it depends on your market.

  8. Dude–I love those photos! And the idea of tarragon mustard makes me supremely happy. I may be following in your condiment shoes (but first: olives!). It’s all about the fixins:-)

  9. These sound fantastic! I love the idea of making your own condiments – I’ve done a few simple ones, but these really take it to the next level. Hmmmm…how to get on Sean’s homemade food products list next Christmas… 🙂

  10. Lydia: It’s a date!
    Erica and Ari: Happy New Year to you both
    Tea: Mmmm … condiment shoes. And yes, the tarragon mustard is delish.
    Kathy: Hey, I’m always up for food blogger goodie swaps!

  11. Hah! My dad used to say the same thing to me, sort of: “Why buy garlic at the grocery store for 50 cents a head when you can grow it for about $3 or more each head, plus a whole season of waiting?” The answer is the same of course — because I can. Plus, imagine some homegrown Inchelium Red in that tarragon mustard of yours….! Found your blog while searching for Pienza — Google pulled up your post on Tuscan bread soup. It’s even better than what I was looking for — glad I stumbled my way here.

  12. Becky: How I wish I could grow my own garlic. Alas, the two window boxes on our back steps are not so sustainable for produce gardening. Glad you found me!
    SGC: I could never compare with La June.
    Anne: Truthfully I use relatively little ketchup but am in love with this one. I think of it more as a tomato compote. It’s great with eggs!

  13. The Tarragon Dijon Mustard sounds delicious! I love to tinker simple condiments into luxurious ones, it always turns out to be more easy than expected.

  14. Condiments have never made me so hungry. These sound delicious! I don’t know about making them myself, but I would love to receive them as a gift. So I hope I have some friends that come across this blog!

  15. You guys really amaze me. How lucky were the recipients of those beautiful jars of goodness??? Sheesh! And, people say I am diligent for making my own mayonnaise. Fuhgetabowdit!!
    ~ Paula

  16. I have always thought of myself as a ketchup-hater, but someone served me homemade ketchup last year and it is divine!

  17. Looks wonderful, been thinking of doing my own mustard for a while now and plan on doing ketchup with some of next years tomatoes from the garden! I love the bourbon with the ketchup.

  18. Yellow Squash Relish is my favorite! I’m trying to sell my husband on it, but he’s not really a believer. I think this recipe may do it.. I usually add a little more salt and it is amazing.

  19. There are no better condiments than homemade! After you buy homemade ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc, you will never go back to the store bought ‘crap’. I can’t wait to try these particular set of condiments for my next cook out. yum..
    Propane Burners

  20. so cool! can’t wait to try this out! i tried to share your post via pinterest though, and the photo is posted in such a way that i can’t pin it. would you reconsider re-posting the picture so that your post can be shared? 🙂

  21. These sound wonderful. I’m wondering if the ketchup could be prepared in a crockpot–has anyone tried that?

  22. I wish I had seen this before Christmas this year 🙁 But on the bright side, maybe that means more for me when I make this ketchup this weekend 🙂

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