Recipe: Chipotle Crab Apple & Rhubarb Ketchup

Crab apples give this tomato-free ketchup a robust character.

Words: Kristina Jensen

Small and sour they may be, but – thanks in part to their pectin levels – crab apples take the prize in my kitchen for being one of autumn’s most versatile fruits.

Pectin, concentrated in the crab apple’s skin and core, is a naturally occurring complex carbohydrate that, when cooked, thickens into a gel. Pectin is why crab apple jelly sets so perfectly and also why the pulp is often used to reduce the sugar in jams and preserves. Substitute pulp for a third of the fruit in a traditional jam recipe and then cut the usual amount of sugar by half.


Crab apple pulp also adds body to fruit leather, as well as taste, perfume and texture.

Chipotle Crab Apple & Rhubarb Ketchup


800g rhubarb, chopped
800g red crab apples
1 cup of water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon yellow mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon red chipotle chilli pepper powder (to taste)


Wash rhubarb and crab apples. Slice the rhubarb thinly and cut the crab apples into quarters. Add the water and fruit to a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until the fruit is very soft (about 30 and 45 minutes), stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Mash with a potato masher to break up the fruit. Strain using a mouli or push through a coarse sieve with a soup spoon to remove skins, pips and fibrous material. The result should be about 7 to 8 cups of pulp.

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Return the pulp to the pot and whisk in all remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil again and then simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, occasionally stirring to stop it sticking. Continue cooking until it thickens up.

When happy with the consistency and flavour, carefully spoon the sauce into hot sterilized jars or bottles. Seal, cool and label. Let it sit for at least a week for the character to develop. Once open, refrigerate and use within a month.

Makes about 2 x 400g jars or 3 x 300ml bottles

Kristina’s Spicy Wedges

These wedges are perfect with Chipotle Crabapple & Rhubarb Ketchup.


8 medium-sized potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
6 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
In a small bowl mix together:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
½ teaspoon chilli powder


Heat the oven to 200ºC. Combine the cut potatoes and oil and place in a large roasting dish, preferably in one layer. Sprinkle over the powder mixture and toss to coat evenly. Bake at for an hour or until the wedges are soft inside and crispy on the outside.

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