It’s all been about the gooseberries these past couple of weeks!
As I mumbled about in a previous blog post, gooseberries were the bain of my life as a child, but I am really happy to have found some really tasty and flavoursome ways to use them and have been rewarded with a press and fridge full of jams and compotes and using them in all different ways other than the obvious (see blog post Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote).
I made a Green Gooseberry and Elderflower jam from the most amazing book “Forgotten Skills of Cooking” by the denizen of Irish cookery, Darina Allen (buy it here). It is a beautiful jam; tart, sweet and floral all at the same time. It’s natural home is on toasted Irish soda bread, but works equally well stirred into some natural yoghurt where the tang of the yoghurt compliments the sweetness of the jam perfectly. You could also use it as an alternative topping on your morning porridge – delightful!
Elderflowers are on the seasonal wane now, but act quickly and you may still be rewarded with flowerheads you can use. Just as well as the gooseberries seem to be late in the season this year and are only just in the last week or so coming on for sale.
I have slightly adapted Mrs Allen’s recipe to suit my less fastidious attitude to preserving than she has, but in my humble opinion, it still works a treat even with my little shortcuts!
1.6kg green gooseberries
3 or more elderflower heads (depending on the size)
1.6kg granulated sugar (normal sugar – gooseberries are hight in pectin so you do not need to use jam sugar for this)
Wash, top and tail the gooseberries.
Add them to a wide pan (stainless steel preserving pan is recommended but in truth as long as its wide enough and deep enough who’s gonna care?)
Cover the fruit with 600ml of water and the elderflower heads. (If you can be bothered, tie the heads together with cooks string and wrap them in a piece of muslin. If not, just whack them in as they come).
Simmer the fruit, water and flower heads together for about 30 minutes until the gooseberries are soft and the mixture is reduced by one-third.
Remove the flower heads using a pair of tongs.
Add the sugar (original recipe recommends warming the sugar to get a fresher fruit taste, but I just popped it in at room temperature).
Stir until completely dissolved and then boil rapidly for 10 minutes.
Keep on the boil until it reaches a temperature of 110 degs celsius (setting temperature for this jam).
Sterilise about 8/9 large jam jars (say Bonne Marche jam jar size), including the lids.
Decant the jam into the jars and seal tight. If you have them to hand you can place a silicone seal ontop of the jam before sealing but I rarely bother with this. As long as your jars are well sterlised you shouldn’t have any spoil issues.
And that’s that. Leave to cool completely and then place in a fridge, or hand out to friends, and Enjoy…!
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