Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

This Blackberry Hoisin Sauce is beautifully sweet and tangy with so many layers of flavour and gluten-free to boot.

Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is one of those mystery condiments where you are not totally sure what’s in it but you know it tastes good dolloped into your duck pancakes. One thing for sure is that most commercially made hoisin sauce contains wheat meaning it’s no good for me. I began making my own so I could still enjoy dishes like these amazing Crispy Duck Summer Rolls, one of my favourite recipes from the blog and to use in my stir-fries.

Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

This year though as part of my huge blackberry haul I decided to make my Hoisin Sauce with blackberries instead of plums or damsons. The result has been astounding. Luke claims it’s the best preserve we’ve ever made and he’s right it’s definitely up there. The complex layers of flavour in this sauce are obscene. The sweet tanginess of blackberries, the richness of the prunes, fresh heat from ginger and chilli and plenty of spice.

Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

I love making ketchup and sauces for preserving, it’s one of the most satisfying jobs and so easy. For Blackberry Hoisin Sauce the ingredients are brought to the boil in a large pan, blended and sieved to achieve the perfect consistency then just placed back in the pan with the sugar and tamari (a gluten-free version of soy sauce. You can also use coconut aminos or if you are not gluten-free then soy sauce is fine), cooked until thick and luscious then bottled. It’s 1-2 hours work and worth every minute as the jars will last you all year and then some. Homemade Blackberry Hoisin Sauce is an excellent gift so you’re also sorted for a few Christmas presents, it’s nice to check things off early.

Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

We’ve been playing fast and loose with our Blackberry Hoisin Sauce and eating it with everything. When Luke went to spread some on his sausage sandwich instead of ketchup at the weekend I was a little taken aback but I needn’t have been concerned, it was amazing. Obviously you can use it in stir-fries, with your duck pancakes, in chinese salad dressings, as a marinade for chicken wings, barbecued meat. Practically anything. This will be the most used condiment in your kitchen in no time.

Blackberry Hoisin Sauce

Print Recipe
Blackberry Hoisin Sauce
Blackberry Hoisin Sauce
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
8x 200ml jars
Ingredients
  • 1 kg blackberries
  • 125 g pitted prunes
  • 200 g red onions
  • 50 g garlic 10-12 cloves
  • 100 g fresh ginger
  • 2 red chillies
  • 500 ml Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon schezuan pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 500 g light soft brown sugar
  • 100 ml tamari or coconut aminos or soy sauce if not gluten-free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
8x 200ml jars
Ingredients
  • 1 kg blackberries
  • 125 g pitted prunes
  • 200 g red onions
  • 50 g garlic 10-12 cloves
  • 100 g fresh ginger
  • 2 red chillies
  • 500 ml Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon schezuan pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 500 g light soft brown sugar
  • 100 ml tamari or coconut aminos or soy sauce if not gluten-free
Blackberry Hoisin Sauce
Instructions
  1. Add blackberries, prunes, onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, vinegar to a large preserving pan.
  2. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat gently to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat then add the spices and rest the sauce for 5 minutes.
  4. Blend the sauce in batches then sieve to achieve a beautifully smooth consistency.
  5. Pour the sauce back in preserving pan and add the brown sugar and tamari.
  6. Bring the sauce back to the boil until the sugar has dissolved then simmer for 15 minutes to thicken.
  7. Remove from the heat. Rest for 5 minutes then decant into sterilised jars*.
Recipe Notes
  • Inspired by the Hoisin Sauce recipe in Thane Prince’s Perfect Preserves
  • The sauce will keep for about 6 months if stored somewhere dark and cool.
  • *To sterilise the jars place the very clean jars you would like to use in an oven pre-heated to 140°C for 20 minutes. Sterilise the lids by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes with a splash of vinegar. I don’t sterilise my lids in the oven as they tend to ruin.

Green Tomato Ketchup

Green Tomato Ketchup

In the summer we spent three deep fried, beer soaked, sugar laden weeks in the America’s deep south. To say we ticked off a lot of calorie-filled food landmarks is an understatement. We made it a mission to try as many southern staples in shabby diners as we could possibly handle. A favourite of ours was fried green tomatoes which I had always wanted to try ever since school where Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café was one of the films we had in rotation on our VCR. We never failed to curse the screen when Chris O’Donnell met his untimely demise only a mere ten minutes in. At the time fried green tomatoes seemed so exotic and iconic of small town Americana, a world away from an all-girls boarding school in the Berkshire countryside.

Now a few months later, with the weighty hindsight of deep fried food, I’m looking at a glut of green tomatoes and I can’t bring myself to dredge them with batter and dunk them in hot oil to re-create the hot and heady New Orleans vibe. So I need to find an alternative. Green tomatoes are firmer and not as sweet as fully ripened red ones so you can’t really substitute one for the other in recipes, also why would you want to as they are not an everyday ingredient to be used up. To be honest, unless you grow your own tomatoes or have picked some up at the farmers market they are not the sort of thing you have just knocking around your kitchen. So, I want to do them justice and eke them out as long as possible.

I found the answer in a green tomato ketchup which kills two birds with one stone, not only providing a way for us to enjoy our green produce for a couple of months but it also gets rid of the processed red stuff which somehow always wheedles its way into our fridge.

The resulting ketchup is the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Instead of the one note sweetness you can get with the Heinz version the layers of flavour in this homemade one are more subtle, fresher and enhances its plate companion rather than overpowering it. Now that I have tried it with sausages, yesterday’s oxtail and sweet potato pie and in the ultimate test of a bacon sandwich, I can happily say that it marries beautifully with everything. Plus, no Chris O’ Donnells were harmed in the making of it so it everyone can munch away with a smile on their face.

green tomato ketchupGreen Tomato Ketchup

Taken from Hazel Atkinson’s recipe in the Metro, slightly adapted for quantities
Makes about 600ml

1kg green tomatoes, diced
1 large white onion, diced
1 large bramley apple, diced
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1 star anise
200ml cider vinegar
200g white sugar
150ml sherry

  1. Place all the ingredients together, bar the sherry, in a large saucepan and cook on a medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the star anise, then pour into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  3. Pour back into the saucepan and add the sherry.
  4. Turn the heat back on and simmer for a further 20 mins until a ketchup consistency.
  5. Bottle straightaway.