What to do with Elderberries?… make Pontack sauce!

I always go mad at this time of the year foraging for elderberries and then end up unsure of what to bake with them. Last year I made this elderberry and Apple tart recipe. This year I wanted to do something different, and something that we could use at our wedding next May. I found a recipe in my foraging book that looked a bit different so thought I would give it a go but adapt it slightly, so I made Pontack sauce. 

I was hoping to make something Medieval to tiy in with our theme and whilst Pontack sauce is old it’s not quite that old, it’s actually from the 17th century. It is basically a spiced and elderberry flavoured vinegar. I have seen it described as an elderberry ketchup but is is very thin, like worcester sauce, so is best sloshed in game stews or on rich, fatty meats such as duck or venison, so a perfect accompanyment for our medieval banquet!

It is a super easy recipe too, so here is what you do:

1) Take 1kg of elderberries, wash and destem them, then put them into a pot with a lid and add 1 liter of malt vinegar. 

2) Bring to the boil then put into the oven in the same pan or if that doesn’t fit then transfer into a casserole dish. Leave in the oven for 5 hours at 100c or longer if possible, if not, do what I did and turn the oven off and leave over night.

3) Then strain off the elderberries and keep only the liquid.


4) Into the liquid add: 2 finely chopped onions, 1tsp mace, 1tsp ground ginger, 2tsp salt, approx 70 pepper corns and 20 cloves.

5) Bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes then bottle into steralised jars and you are done!


Apparently being vinegar this keeps for years and years and actually you are supposed to have it after 7 years…

This won’t last 7 years I am sure but I will let you know how it has changed next May at the wedding but for now I tried a small bit and wow what a floral and zingy punch, I love it!

 

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