Gooseberry jam – a recipe

What do you do when someone (Mrs MOFAD in my case) comes home from work with a kilo of gooseberries? Make jam of course. I do like a gooseberry jam. It’s something you don’t see from the big producers, the kind of thing that you find at a farm shop or a market.

You will need:-

some gooseberries
some jam sugar (aka jelly sugar, aka gelling sugar aka pectin sugar)
some cold water

You might want something a bit more accurate than that. It’s a ratio of 1:1 gooseberry to sugar, with 15% water.

So if you have 500g of gooseberries, you need 500g of sugar and 75ml water, and so on.

Before we begin, start to sterilise a few jars – wash them in warm water then leave to dry in a low oven (100-120C) whilst you’re doing the rest of this. At the same time, put a small plate in the freezer – you’ll need that to test if it has set later.

First, wash your gooseberries, and chuck away any that have gone too squishy, mouldy or are too blemished. Remove the tops and tails, and pop them in a large saucepan.

Add your water and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 10 minutes until the fruit softens and starts to break up, giving it a good stir a few times. It will start to foam a bit.

Now add your sugar and stir until it has dissolved.

Increase the heat again and boil hard for about 10 minutes. Again it will really start to foam up and bubble away like a sugary volcano.

After 10 minutes, check to see if it has set. To do this, take the small plate out of the freezer and spoon a small amount of jam on to it. Let it cool down for a minute and then drag your finger through the jam – if it goes wrinkly then it is ready. If it doesn’t wrinkle, keep boiling for another minute or two and then test again.

If it is ready, turn off the heat and then skim off any scum (the white foamy bits). Leave it to stand for 20 minutes (it will start to form a wrinkly skin).

Remove your warm jars from the oven and spoon in the jam (or use a handy jam funnel, available from Lakeland, Wilkinson and elsewhere). You’ll notice that it goes from green to brown.

And there you go, gooseberry jam in about an hour.

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