Lockdown Leftover Recipes : Gooseberry Jam #jammaking #leftovers #recipes #cooking

I am viewing this as a Lockdown recipe because I was furkling around in the freezer to see what we can use and came across four cartons of frozen dessert gooseberries that had been there for more than a year.

I opened the foil cartons expecting to find the fruit freezer-burned beyond all hope  but was pleasantly surprised to find it was not.  Now I am not hugely fond of goose-gogs and fours pounds of them is more than the two of us here in this house could eat as a single desert!  But I hate to waste good food. And as jam was on the shopping list for the week… jam making it was.

(Picture taken yesterday –  just before Peter devoured his first slice!)

Jam making is something that people can find quite frightening because so much is made of the perfectionist side of it. But, assuming you are not trying to win a local produce show prize for the ‘perfect’ jar then its really very easy – and Gooseberry is one of the easiest of all.

The recipe is basically equal quantities of fruit and sugar, a small amount of water (to stop it burning in the initial stages) and if you prefer jam that is not too sweet, then some lemon juice (fresh is good but the bottled kind works perfectly well). I defrosted the fruit and drained off the excess water – retaining some for the cooking. What I was left with was 3 pounds of fruit so here is the recipe adjusted accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs gooseberries
  • 3 lbs sugar
  • 1/3 pint of the reserved liquid
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Method.

  • First sterilize four jars and set aside to dry.
  • Put fruit and water in the largest saucepan you have (preferably stainless steel and not a non-stick variety)
  • Cook until soft and mushy
  • Add sugar to fruit and dissolve over medium heat – this is important or your jam may crystalize.
  • Bring to boil and cook for approx at high temp for approx 15 mins – stirring with a wooden spoon now and then to stop it burning.  (Note – even green gooseberries will probably turn red at stage – do not be alarmed!)
  • Skim the foam that forms on jam as its cooks (though you can leave that to the end if you are nervous about it)
  • If you have a sugar thermometer there will be a ‘jam’ mark on the scale.
  • If not then the way to know that your jam is ready spoon a little onto a cold saucer, leave it to cool and then push your finger through the jam, if it forms a wrinkled skin on the surface it is ready. If not then give it another five mins boil
  • When your jam is ready pour into your jars and seal them asap.

Done!

Tips:

Don’t over cook your jam or you will end up with gooseberry caramel – which might be tasty but will be impossible to get out of the jars without breaking them! My mother famously allowed some blackcurrant jam to overcook and father, being a kind soul, tried hard to get some of the batch from a jar  for a taste test… he broke the knife in the jar! (Mother never lived it down!)

If you do burn jam onto the pan base never fear. It is easily removed.  Wash the worst of the jam out then pour in a litre of cola and boil it over a high heat, stirring with a wood spoon to loosen it. Repeat if necessary but unless the base of really crusted one boil should work.  You pan will be as clean as its ever been – and when you see what a corrosive cleaner it is you will be put of drinking cola for life 🙂

This recipe will work for many fruits such as rhubarb and most berries  – the exception being strawberries and members of the plum family which may need fruit pectin added.

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