Black Catsup

Years ago, my mother-in-law shared a recipe with me that was handed down from her grandmother.  This grandmother owned or worked at a restaurant in Memphis near Poplar and Highland. Sadly, that is all that I know about her.  The recipe is for Black Catsup. It’s a spicy, salty, very dark condiment that is wonderful on black-eyed peas, lima beans, and grilled meats.  My husband also puts it on eggs and pretty much anything else he fancies. When I received the recipe, it was with the understanding that it would never leave the family.  So I guard it like it’s the recipe to KFC or Coca Cola.

For years, my mother-in-law would make batches of the stuff and give us numerous bottles to take home.  She never canned it; she just poured it into old Grolsch beer bottles. It would never go bad, even after sitting on the shelf for many months.   I’m more comfortable with keeping the sauce in sealed jars, so that’s what I’ve been doing.  Even though I wasn’t sure that I was canning properly, it wasn’t about to spoil and I think the flavor stays fresher when the jars are sealed.  I only need to make it every other year because a little bit goes a long way.

This year, I was able to use a little of my own garden produce in the recipe!

Black Catsup



2 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve been looking for this recipe for YEARS! Could you send it to me? Was it ever published (in maybe 1948 or so) in the First Methodist Church cookbook in Columbus, Ohio? Your description perfectly fits my childhood memories of roast beef Sundays with black catsup–just a small dab–on it. From what you say, even if it’s not identical to our old family recipe, now, sadly, lost, it will be, I’m sure, close enough for ecstasy.


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