Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gooseberry Jam

Natalie picking gooseberries
Thanks to my English friend, Rachel, and her garden I was able to make gooseberry jam with my granddaughter this summer. It was a new experience for both of us and I couldn’t have done it without her help. Picking, tailing and stemming enough gooseberries to make jam is no small undertaking. Then, I had difficulty deciding which online recipe to follow. It seems Canada and Britain has it all over the US for gooseberry recipes. I picked the easiest and it turned out perfectly.

We used the dark, ripe wine colored fruits that have a distinct taste somewhat like a cross between a grape and a raspberry. The jam cries out for wild game and pairs well with meat. Try it with pork, marinated and baked chicken thighs, goose, turkey, lamb or buffalo. And beyond that it is simply a delicious preserve to have on your shelf this winter. No pectin is needed as these berries are high in natural pectin.
abandoned nest in gooseberry bush
4 cups gooseberries (2 pounds) - Wash, tail and stem, discarding any that are soft or damaged.
4 cups raw organic sugar (2 pounds)
1 1/4 cups water

Thorny gooseberries
Place gooseberries and water in a large pan, bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat until the gooseberries are tender, approximately ten minutes. Stir in sugar and simmer until dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly until setting point is reached, about 15 minutes. Mash with a masher during cooking. Ladle into sterilized jars and seal.

To test whether the jam has set: take the saucer from the freezer and drop a small spoonful of jam on to it. Allow it to cool for a minute then push your finger through the jam – if it wrinkles it’s ready; if not, boil for a few more minutes. Continue testing until the jam is ready. (Always remove the jam from the heat while you’re testing so that if it’s ready you won’t overcook it.)

Thea facilitates healing herbal retreats at ClearfieldCottage perched above Rachel’s garden. Meals are prepared from the garden and are local, seasonal and organic.
photos by Thea