THE WALNUT CATSUP SAGA
Told by Tommy Joe Fulton,
Curator of the Aitkin County Historical Society and Depot Museum
On page 63 of Peg Meier's book "Bring Warm Clothes" there is reprinted an ad from the 1850's in which a wholesaler is listing part of his stock so as to entice orders. Two lines of the ad follow:
15 bx tomato catsup
10 " walnut "
After a number of years of trivial pursuit I finally located a recipe and made a gallon batch. That fall at our local festival we passed out samples to those brave souls willing to give it a try.
If you're familiar with "Worcestershire Sauce" then you know the taste and some of the uses of walnut catsup. The ingredients are quite similar with one change. "Worcestershire Sauce" lists tamarind as an ingredient, whereas walnut catsup uses the immature hull, husk and nutmeat of the walnut. Someday I hope to make a white catsup using the butternut.
The label above is for our "Black Walnut Catsup" named for my great-great-grandfather who was born in 1843.
aka Willard Edgar Butterfield
Front center is Justus C.
Butterfield, front left is Willard Edgar, front right is Charles.
left to right are Edwin, Franklin, Fredrick, and Thomas Auten.
from The Butterfield Family
Tamarind: a tropical Old World leguminous tree (Tamarindus indica) with hard yellowish wood, pinnate leaves, and red-striped yellow flowers; also : its fruit which has an acid pulp often used for preserves or in a cooling laxative drink. (Merriam/Webster online)