Friday, July 18, 2014

Gooseberry Jam

I picked my gooseberries a while ago. Luckily they keep well in the fridge. But I figured I'd better get to them. So they were topped and tailed. Then I covered them in sugar and put them back in the fridge. I didn't have time to deal with it then, but I figured I'd get to it eventually. Fruit tends to keep a few days like this.

Two days later I finally decided I'd better make time. So this morning I got all my canning jars ready and got the canning pot boiling. Then I cooked down the mixture. I didn't put in a lot of sugar. The usual ratio for me is two cups fruit to one cup sugar. But I wanted to make a jam that would really have that puckering taste of the gooseberry. So I put in a bit less with the hope that the jam would set anyway (it did).

As I was cooking it I noticed the skins were pretty unappealing and floating on top. I didn't want a jam like that, so I pureed what was left of the fruit leaving the liquid to continue boiling. It was much better that way. The pulp mixed in well unlike the skins. No awful separating jam.

As you can see I use a frying pan to make my jams a lot of the time. They cook a lot faster. You just have to make sure you don't have too much or it will all boil over. This one I had to cook down a lot to get it to set. Probably from the lack of sugar. When it seemed right I canned it up.

With about 3 1/2 cups of mashed fruit, I got two cups of jam. So I did boil it down a lot. Weirdly the jam turned out reddish brown. The gooseberries were green. It is pretty though. And oh my gosh does it taste so good. I licked the spoons off when I was done. I don't think you could eat a lot at once because it is so intense, but it would be fabulous with some cream cheese on crackers. Or I could even make pie with it if I mixed it with a little sour cream and egg. Small pies though as I don't have all that much. Just two jars.

Gooseberry jam isn't the only thing I preserved this morning. I froze some basil. I have to pick off the ends before they bloom. If I don't have a plan for it, I just freeze it for later. I also put some parsley into the dehydrator. Last year I didn't dehydrate nearly enough. I think I need a good pint of it for all my winter needs. I hope I get enough. Of my four plants, one died early on. Now another is starting to bloom. What is with my biennials this year? I've never had my chard or my parsley bloom on me before. Now I have several plants that are doing it. I'm blaming it on the really cold spell in May. Maybe it convinced the plants it was winter.


  1. With the Basil you should consider making Pesto and freezing it. We freeze ours in ice-cube trays, then we can use individual cubes whenever needed, to liven-up a soup or a casserole.

  2. Have never had gooseberry jam or gooseberries themselves, for that matter, but your description sure does make me want to run out and plant a few bushes. Looks delish!

  3. I see Mark above freezes basil in ice-cube trays, which I've never tried. How do you freeze it Daphne, and how does it come out when ready to use? I always just make pesto which lasts forever in the freezer but it limits how i can use it.

    1. I freeze the leaves in a plastic bag. When they thaw they are black and the texture is not great. However the taste is all there. So they are great for flavoring sauces, soups, or rice, but not so good if you are going to use enough to see the black color. So they are good for flavor only. I also freeze them in olive oil and lemon juice sometimes which preserves the color better. Something like this is really good for salad dressings. But this is similar to Mark's way but is more versatile in the kitchen than straight pesto.

    2. Thanks, I think I'll give the olive oil / lemon juice a try!