Making Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup)

I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. More details here.

It has been an extraordinary year for elderberries here in England! I have a big batch of Elderberry Wine brewing, I’ve made an Elderberry Soda, Elderberry Winter Tonic, and now also a traditional English condiment– Pontack Sauce, aka Elderberry Ketchup.

What I love about this sauce is that it doesn’t have any added sugar, it keeps forever, and has a nice tangy flavor reminiscent of Worcestershire Sauce– but with berries. It’s fairly simple to make, and goes really well with game meats.

This is a recipe adapted from two different versions, found in Food DIY and River Cottage Preserves.  Quite a few people have asked me to share more traditional English recipes.  I’ll be honest– I am not a huge fan of English food.  But what I do love is the use of foraged and traditional ingredients, which are making a huge resurgence.  This is wonderful!  I had never heard of Pontack Sauce before moving to England, but am pleased to have two bottles that will last us for a long time.  If you have elderberries in your area, I would encourage you to try this!

IMG_0509

Print

Making Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup)

Making Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup)

Pontack Sauce, aka Elderberry Ketchup, is a traditional English condiment.  What I love about this sauce is that it doesn’t have any added sugar, it keeps forever, and has a nice tangy flavor reminiscent of Worcestershire Sauce– but with berries. It’s fairly simple to make, and goes really well with game meats!

  • Author:

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Using a fork, strip the berries from their stems.  The stems are slightly toxic, so do your best to remove as much as possible.
  • Put the berries in a dutch oven or glass casserole dish with a lid.  Add the vinegar, and bake in the oven for 4-6 hours at 325º.  The smell is really pleasant– more yeasty than vinegar-y, and of course nice and fruity.
  • Strain the berries out with a sieve, pressing to get all of the juice.  Some preparations make use of a blender here, which will yield a thicker sauce.  But I just pressed the berries a bit for their juice. Return the juice to your dutch oven or to a sauce pan.
  • Add the shallots and spices to the elderberry juice, and bring to a boil over medium heat on the stove.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 25 minutes.  Strain out the shallots and spices, and bring to the boil again, for five minutes.
  • Bottle your sauce into sterilized glass vessels.  I think that these swing-top bottles are really perfect, but you can also use mason jars.
  • Give it time to mature.  Right after it’s done, the shallot flavor is quite sharp, and this will mellow and the sauce improves over time– years, even.  This is shelf-stable for many, many years, so take your time.

 

IMG_0495IMG_0507

If you have elderberries in your area, or you can get them dried, I hope you’ll try this sauce.  I can’t help thinking that a version of this made with cherries would also be wonderful…

How to Make Pontack Sauce And Here We Are...

Save

, , , , ,

16 Responses to Making Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup)

  1. NaomiH September 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    I missed elderberry season here 🙁 But when I’ve made syrup with them before they smelled terrible and only became edible with copious amounts of honey. Maybe I did something wrong. How would you use pontack sauce – with meat? Dip fries in it?

    • ariana September 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

      Oh, that’s too bad about missing the season AND the poor result of your syrup. How strange! I don’t know if it would be good for dipping fries, but definitely as a sauce for steak and other meats. I am going to put some into a venison stew tonight.

    • tracey smith September 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

      help! i have lots of elderberry juice. what i dont know is the quantities of juice needed to make pontack sauce???

      • ariana September 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

        Ooh, that’s tricky, Tracey! Did you juice them with a juicer? Did you simmer them with water?

        • tracey smith September 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

          I just squashed them! what do i do now?

          • ariana September 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

            Do you still have the elderberries themselves? If not, I honestly don’t know for sure what would be best, since the plan is to bake the whole berries with the vinegar. If you still want to try to make the sauce, it will definitely be a gamble. Start with estimating how many elderberries you started with (about a pound? Two?) and try to follow from there. I can’t give you too much clear instruction because I have no idea what you started with, and this is not really how the recipe works.
            You might consider just turning them into soda or medicine. I have some good recipes for those!

  2. Hausfrau September 22, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    I’m really hoping there are still some good elderberries around here, as I’d love to try this recipe! I made elderberry elixir a few weeks ago, for the first time–getting ready for winter.

  3. Rachel @ Grok Grub September 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    A cherry version sounds very doable!

  4. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom September 22, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    This looks amazing! Thanks for a great original recipe!

  5. Megan Stevens September 23, 2014 at 1:54 am #

    I’ve never heard of this before. I LOVE when I find a recipe for something that looks amazing and that I’ve never seen! Thanks for sharing. I’ll enjoy getting my feet wet with this, so to speak. 🙂

  6. Tina T. September 24, 2014 at 3:35 am #

    This is new to me – but definitely sounds like something I would love to try!

  7. Angela September 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    I followed the river cottage recipe to the letter and instead of the predicted 700ml of sauce I got 300ml, what did I do wrong.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What to Do With Elderberries - And Here We Are - September 22, 2014

    […] Pontack Sauce (a.k.a. Elderberry Ketchup) […]

  2. Ferments and preserves | Pearltrees - September 27, 2014

    […] Making Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup) It has been an extraordinary year for elderberries here in England! […]

  3. Link Love (2014-11-15) | Becky's Kaleidoscope - November 15, 2014

    […] Making Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup) – And Here We Are… […]

  4. 16 Wild Edible Recipes You Will Love - Pure Traditions - April 26, 2016

    […] Pontack Sauce (Elderberry Ketchup) […]

Share your thoughts with us...

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

Privacy Policy   Disclaimers

© 2017 And Here We Are. All rights reserved.