There was a time when ketchup meant any kind of tangy sauce, made of various ingredients such as mushrooms or oysters. Its origins are Chinese, who created a mixture of fermented fish and spices in the 1600’s, which travelled to Malaysia, where the British adopted it. Today the tomato-based sauce is what we think of when we hear the word, ketchup. Let’s expand the repertoire with this cherry-based sauce. The spices and quantities given can be modified to your taste. You can also use other spices, Chinese 5 spice powder is quite good here, as is curry powder. You could also try this with other fruit, such as plums, blueberries or peaches

2 c pitted cherries
1/2 c dried cherries or other dried fruit
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/3 c water or cherry juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T sugar
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground allspice
1/8 t ground cardamom
1/8 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cayenne powder
1/2 t salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are tender, 20 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.

2. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Whizz until smooth. If using a blender, put a towel over the blender lid in case the heat from the mixture threatens to blow off the lid.

3. Transfer to a bowl or jar. Let cool before using. Refrigerate between servings.