Gooseberry Jam Recipe
The British gooseberry season starts in the middle of June and lasts for several months, providing plenty of early summer fruit ideal for preserving. You might be lucky enough to have your own bushes, but if not they’re easily available from pick your own farms or supermarkets, just watch out for the potentially painful thorns.
Gooseberries are a traditionally British fruit, as they favour growing in a cool climate, and you’ll often find them used in classic summer puddings such as gooseberry fool. They’ve been grown in Britain for over five hundred years and have got a strong folk history surrounding them, legend even has it that fairies like to hide amongst those prickly stems. Gooseberry growing is taken very seriously in some parts of the country, as can be seen at the annual competitive gooseberry show near Whitby.
Gooseberry jam has a wonderful orange colour and doesn’t involve much preparation as the fruit only needs to be topped and tailed.
2.7 Kilogram Gooseberries, slightly under-ripe, topped and tailed (6 lb)
1.1 Litre Water (2 pints)
2.7 Kilogram Sugar (6 lb)
15 Gram Butter ( 1/2 oz)
Makes 4.5 kg (10 lb)
Put the gooseberries and water into a preserving pan and simmer until really soft and reduced (about 30 minutes)
Mash the fruit to a pulp with a potato masher, then remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then add the butter.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Test for setting point and then take the pan off the heat and skim the surface with a slotted spoon.
Pot and cover the jam in sterilised jars.
Elderflowers make a good companion to gooseberries and the basic recipe can also be used to make gooseberry and elderflower jam by using fresh elderflowers or adding elderflower cordial.
Tie 15 elderflower heads in a piece of clean muslin and simmer with the fruit, or add 400ml of elderflower cordial at the same time as the sugar.
The jam can be eaten straight away, but the delicate colour would look good in one of these faceted octagonal preserve jars from Patteson’s glass.