Sweet and Sour Peach Ketchup
Photograph by Leigh Olson
The idea that ketchup is made with tomatoes is a fairly recent innovation. Ketchup, which is no more than a slow-simmered sauce made with fruit, vinegar, and spices, had a long and storied history in Asia and Europe long before the people of those continents encountered tomatoes, which are, after all, a New World crop.
The combination of sweet and sour flavors, such as ketchup’s combination of fruit and vinegar, is a hallmark of Ashkenazi cuisine. Gil Marks notes in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food that preparing dishes ahead of time to serve on Shabbat, in keeping with the prohibition against kindling a fire on the holiday, led Jewish cooks to rely on vinegar as a preservative. Sweet flavors were then added to cut the sharpness of the vinegar.
For centuries, Jewish cooks made ketchups of all kinds with the fruits and vegetables available to them. Here I have updated the tradition to create a peach ketchup. The sweet, tangy flavor of this ketchup is outstanding on turkey burgers and chicken sandwiches. My family also enjoys it on sweet potato fries.