Making Mushroom Ketchup, 18th Century Cooking Series at Jas. Townsend and Son – Townsends

Making Mushroom Ketchup, 18th Century Cooking Series at Jas. Townsend and Son – Townsends

Many different 18th century recipes and a
lot of writings refer to something called ketchup. Now ketchup in the 18th century wasn’t
so much like this as it is more like this. The word ketchup finds its roots in 17th century
China. The Chinese had a similar sounding name for a concoction that consisted of pickled
fish and spices. The British traders found this seasoning to be delightful. They brought
it home and it quickly became the staple of the English and American diet. Today we’re going to make an 18th century
ketchup recipe with mushrooms. This would be a seasoning or a flavor that 18th century
soldiers would be very familiar with. James Townsend and Son carries all the equipment
we’ll be using today and you can find each one of these things in our catalog or on our
website. We’re starting off with 2 pounds of fresh mushrooms, but first a word of warning.
We’re using common brown mushrooms in our recipe today. These mushrooms are native throughout
Europe and North America but even common mushrooms can easily be mistaken for poisonous or even
deadly varieties, so make sure to use something you know is completely safe. With our mushrooms, we need to gently wipe
these mushrooms off. We don’t want to rinse them off or wash them because that added liquid
would dilute our final flavors. And we’re going to add these to our tin
cooking pot. We need to draw the juices out of our chopped up mushrooms. The best way
to do that is to add a couple spoonfuls of salt. In addition to that salt, we’re going
to add a couple of bay leaves. We’re going to mash it up, smoosh these mushrooms down
in and then we’re going to cover it and then let it set for about 10 minutes. We’ve let these set 10 minutes and they’ve
already started reducing. The liquids being drawn out of the mushrooms and it’s already
reduced in size a little bit. I’m going to transfer these into a milk pan here and
then we can let this sit overnight. I’m going to put this pie pan on top just
to keep the critters out. The first recipe for tomato ketchup was in
1801, but tomato ketchup did not become popular until the mid-19th century. The tomato plant
is a member of the deadly nightshade family and many people considered it a deadly poison
in the 18th century. Well, let’s take a look. There we have it. The mushrooms have completely
masticated and now it’s time for the next step. So now it’s time to add in 1 chopped up
onion, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of finely grated horse radish. James Townsend
and Son offers a pocket spice kit. It comes with salt and pepper, cinnamon, cayenne and
thyme. It also comes with an empty vial and in that vial I’ve added cloves. In the recipe
here, we’re going to use a quarter teaspoon of cloves. We’re going to use a pinch of cayenne and some allspice also, about a half a teaspoon. And the last ingredient we need is a quarter
to a half a cup of cider vinegar. We’re going to stir up all these things together
and then we’re going to put this over the fire and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Joseph Plumb Martin’s book, sometimes called
Private Yankee Doodle, many times it mentions when he’s eating, that they’re lacking
sauce for their meat. More than likely this is what he was craving. This is done simmering now. I’ve let it
cool a little bit but now it’s time to pour it off and I’ve got our milk pan and I’ve
got a squeeze cloth here. I’m going to pour this in here to let it cool. Once this is cooled off, we’re going to
take that cloth and bundle it up and squeeze all the liquid out. There’re some amazing complex flavors in
this. You get the salt first, then some of the other spices, the earthiness of the mushrooms,
very complex, very wonderful flavor. We’re going to cork this up. We’re going to bottle
it, cork it, and save it for our future recipes. So when you’re done with squeezing out the
mushrooms, you don’t want to get rid of that. You don’t want to throw that out.
That is especially good stuff. You dry that and you can either leave it like it is or
you can grind it up. Some of this stuff you can sprinkle it almost like salt. It is really,
really good stuff. And there we have it, our ketchup. Our 2 pounds
of mushrooms worked out to be a little over a pint of liquid ketchup. We also have our
leftover dried mushrooms. Those are going to be great for future recipes. All the equipment
that you saw here, all the utensils, it’s available on our website, in our print catalog,
and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook.


  1. Did you hear about that fellow Ben Franklin. Love his witty sayings, but no one will remember him in 100 years. – IKABOD CRANE

  2. Sitting in a hospital right now, when you talk I have to turn the volume up, and then the music plays, everyone's looking at me like "wtf are you watching lord of the rings meets food network"?

    Love this channel


  4. Use Tomatoes ? Are you insane ?!
    Let's use some Mushrooms we wound in the forest instead. They should be safe.

  5. Top rules for picking mushrooms: Rule 1: learn to recognize all poisonous mushrooms. Rule 2: Only eat mushrooms you recognize.

  6. Need to try that my wife loves mushrooms. I don't really care for them but great recipe great history . Thankyou for this wonderful channel.

  7. I tried this and ended up with something that looked like a light brown froth that kept getting larger and thicker in the bottle as time went on. Fearing it was a bacterial colony, I threw it out. What went wrong?

  8. I couldn't stand it anymore. I went on your website and ordered the Mushroom Ketchup. I have to try it! While I was there, I picked up the pocket spice kit. Thanks for such great and informative videos!

  9. John, just rewatched this episode. You said to keep the mushroom remnants for other recipes. Have you done a video on that and I missed it? Just wondering what I could use it for.


  10. 2:51 Fun fact, it wasn't entirely because of the fact that it's part of the nightshade family that people in those days thought they were poisonous. A large part of it was the fact that wealthy families used pewter plates which had high lead content in them and the acidity of the tomatoes would draw out the lead in the plates when eaten off them, resulting in lead poisoning and often death. They were even nicknamed "poison apples".

  11. Perhaps you may have already but if not might you post a video on drying that mushroom leftover from mushroom ketchup making? To turn it into a powder and also any use it might have before powdering it. Thank you. Loving your videos, a view into the past and especially the aspect of the things that bring us all together. Survival and food. Much appreciated.

  12. that is what we would call a soy sauce now days… Ketchup in cantonese mean the same thing as western word ketchup, cause in cantonese the word for tomato is Fan Kay and cantonese word for chup means sauce… so Kay Chup in cantonese means tomato sauce..

  13. I've talked to world class chefs. They all soak their mushrooms to get the dirt off. Unless they are dehydrated it doesn't absorb a lot, and it quickly cooks off. That is a myth, just wash your mushrooms.

  14. Tomatoes were only though to be poisonous because people were eating them off of pewter plates. Thus they were giving themselves lead poisoning.

  15. Don't know if I've commented on this, and I'm not about to sift through over 1000 comments to see! But this deserves multiple praises anyway! I have made this recipe many many times! It's one of my favorite condiments now! Even though I don't eat meat much anymore, It's still wonderful on vegetables. I also love drying the mushrooms and using it as a mushroom salt.

  16. Made our first batch of mushroom ketchup. Super simple to make and the taste was killer! And the dried leftover mushrooms will go great in our next slow cook roast. Already have some idea variations with different mushrooms and a sage/peppercorn season blend. Keep up the great work Townsends!

  17. I like that you provide a way to purchase all the materials needed to make your recipes. It saves us time in having to look for them separately, and at the same time, it helps your business as well. It's a win-win for all!

  18. Thuck,thuck,thuck.
    The delightful sound of a good knife cutting mushrooms.😀
    A very simple recipé.
    On to the kitchen.😀

    What a great adjustable pot hook.

  19. I’m making this now. Just cut up 3 lbs of mushrooms (recipe says 2 lbs but thank you Costco) with salt and bay leaves. Letting it sit overnight. Put some weight on the plate covering the shrooms to draw out the liquid. Looking forward to the mushroomup and drying the mushrooms for further use.

  20. How important is it to transfer to the milk pan & cover with pie tin, only to be returned to the original pot? Could you skip the transfer process and let them sit in the first pot covered overnight?

  21. The first time I made this was with wild oyster mushrooms, it was great. Now I make it regularly and wouldn’t think off eating a steak or burger without it.

  22. Made it and it was terrific. I had a large part of my family over for a holiday meal and many tired it. They loved it, and then I share with them what it was. I found that after drying the mushrooms that they were delightful and salty, making them a great finisher to mashed potatoes and steak.

  23. 1:36 when he says know, he means KNOW. the number of edible mushrooms that look identical to poisonous mushrooms are numerous

  24. You are a truly delightful host. Guess who is going to the store. Thank you for your willingness to teach.

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