I came across this video about “Mushroom Ketchup“. Of course, Jabbado wanted to give it a try, an so I did. The results fit very well into the “culinary alchemy” category of making seasoning yourself. A note, though – this recipe did not come with exact measurements, and as it is literally a matter of taste, I encourage you to experiment with the amounts and ratios of anything here.

The Shrooms

I have tried this recipe using the mushrooms most easily available around here – champignons, or button mushrooms. According to the video, it works with all kinds of mushrooms, and I am inclined to believe that. I am looking forward to trying it with other kinds, mostly oyster mushrooms, at some point. This ties in well into my efforts to grow mushrooms myself, too.

First, clean your mushrooms. The best way to do it is to use a clean rag and brush off any dirt that might still be on them. Most bought mushrooms should be pretty clean to begin with, but it does not hurt to keep as much earth out of the final product as possible.

Next, squash them into small pieces. It can be as cathartic as it sounds. Use your hands and squeeze and tear the mushrooms into bits. They do not need to be too small, but you should divide every button in at least four segments, if not six. If you prefer, you can also use a knife to chop them up instead.

Put them into a bowl large enough with a little room to spare, although if anything, the space they need will shrink rather than expand. I used a glass bowl, and this came with the added benefit of some interesting visuals from below. This is by no means necessary or even beneficial, though.

Getting Salty

Now, add salt to the chopped mushrooms. The recipe apparently calls for something like “a hand full of salt”. I eyeballed it by covering the mushrooms decently in salt, and that seemed to have worked. The salt will draw the moisture out of the shrooms. Of course, it also serves as a basic seasoning, but this is not the step to salt to taste.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours. This time frame is not a strict value, as most of the change will happen within a few hours after setting the mushrooms up, at least in my experience.

Season the Seasoning

Once the mix has done its thing add seasoning to it. Some of the recipes quoted in the aforementioned video leave it at a general call to “spice things up”, while others name ingredients. There are no measurements here because tastes differ, but for reference, here is what I used, with rough guessurements:

  • Black Pepper (1/2 – 1 tsp)
  • Ginger (1 tsp)
  • Nutmeg (a pinch or two)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp)

Something I wanted to add but forgot, for the name alone, is allspice. Next time, I also want to try to add herbs. Parsley, Oregano, and Thyme come to mind as something that would work well in a mushroom based sauce. I have no idea how their flavor would come out in the end, though.

There is something to be said for boiling something that is meant to be reduced first, before adding spices, but by doing it before the boiling we also add some flavor to the solid portion of the mix, which will come in handy later.

Boiling for more Flavor

Put the seasoned mix into a pot and let it simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. This is supposed to release more flavors from the mushrooms. It also helps them release what moisture the salt could not wrest from them. Stir frequently to keep everything well mixed.

Split the Phases

Pour the mix through a fine cloth separate the liquid from the solids. The reason for the cloth as opposed to a sieve is not just that it is a lot finer, but also that you can bundle it up and squeeze the moisture out of the remains.

This is where this recipe “forks”. You now have the basic parts of the ketchup and the powder separated, and they will get separate steps down below.

Make it Saucy

Here’s the thing. The liquid should already be pretty tasty – go ahead and try it! It is also pretty thin, and not well suited as a sauce in my opinion. You now have options.

  • If you want a codiment but the taste is still a bit on the weak side, you can reduce the liquid further by boiling it. This will thicken the sauce but also concentrate the flavor, which in this case is probably a good thing.
  • Alternatively, if you are going for a condiment but the taste is already strong enough, you could add some cornstarch dissolved in cold water to it. Stir vigorously while you bring it to a boil. That should thicken it enough to approximate what we today refer to as “ketchup”.
  • If you want to use it as seasoning to add to dishes during the cooking phase instead, you can leave it as it is.

Fill the result into a well-cleaned and sterilized bottle. Use boiling water to rinse the container shortly before you add our mushroom ketchup. I recommend using kitchen funnel to avoid spills and a kitchen towel to avoid burns while holding the hot bottle. Close it and let it cool down.

My Mistake: Sediments

I cannot quite tell you what I did wrong – maybe there was a hole in my cloth, or I squeezed too vigorously and forced some solids through it. I might also have boiled it too high and this is residue from the bottom of the pot. Either way, my mushroom ketchup came out with this sediment that you can see in the picture above.

It tastes a lot more salty than the liquid, thus I have taken to not shaking the bottle. I might remove it completely at some point. If you have time, you could filter your seasoning through a coffee filter, but that works only if you chose not to thicken your sauce.

What to use Mushroom Ketchup for

The main use of this condiment is just that, as an additional source of flavor for meats and other grilled things. You can also use it to add that certain something to gravies or other sauces.

Dry the Solids

This is about the solid remains of the mushrooms, and it will yield something at least as tasty as the ketchup, if not more so. In my opinion, mushroom powder is at the very least more versatile.

Put the solids from the cloth into an oven-safe pan and spread them out. If you time it right, you might have the oven already heated up from another dish, but it does not require high temperatures so it is okay to heat it up for this delicious treat.

Heat the oven up to 120°C/250°F and place the pan inside. I recommend opening the oven every five minutes to let moisture escape, and gently move the flakes around using a tool at that point to keep them from sticking. It took half an hour for me for the mushroom pieces to feel pretty dry, but your mileage may vary. Once you are satisfied that they are pretty much bereft of water, we can move on to the next step.

Put them into a food processor and grind them to a powder. Be careful handling the hot stuff, though. At least for me, some steam was released as I ground the pieces down. Nothing dangerous, but odd at first glance. Make sure that there are no large pieces left in the mix.

Optional: pour the powder back into the hot pan and leave in the oven for a bit. This is to remove every last bit of moisture and increase the shelf life of this tasty seasoning, although it may not even be necessary. My thinking is that the pan is still hot anyway, and so is the oven.

Fill the powder into a container. I used a small glass jar, but something like a shaker would be good for ease of application.

Uses for Mushroom Powder

You can use this powder in much the same way as mushroom ketchup, with the caveat that it does not work well as a condiment for obvious reasons. Instead, try using it in marinades or rubs. A very special use I found is to mix it with butter. Mushroom butter is a new favorite of mine, and if you mix it directly on the bread you always have it ready to go with this powder.

mushroom powder mixed with butter on a bun

There’s Mushroom for Feedback

Thanks for stopping by. Please share this and the Spicy Alchemy series with everyone who enjoys cooking, join my Discord server just because, and remember to Be Inspired!

Categories: Recipes