I am on a mission to learn to make good jam. My first attempt a couple of years ago was blackberry jam using locally foraged berries, but unfortunately, I had not mastered testing for the setting point, and consequently, the jam was described by my cousin Louise, as “a bit chewy”. Oh well. Onwards and upwards.
My more recent attempts at jam making have been more successful, and, when I recently managed to get my hands on 3kg of fresh, local gooseberries whilst up in Oxfordshire the other weekend, I really wanted to get making some gooseberry jam.
We found this jam incredibly simple to make and produced excellent results. Tony and I made it together and it was a good choice to make with a novice jam maker. The worst part of it was topping and tailing 3kg of gooseberries – roughly 3 colanders full of the blighters to work through.
The flavour of the finished jam is just wonderful. The gooseberry lends itself very well to jam as its flavour is distinctive and zesty enough to stand up to all that sugar. The jam turns a beautiful pink hue towards the very end of the cooking time, which is very attractive. I urge you to give it a go. This recipe produces a lightly set jam, which also retains some nice chunks of fruit.
Makes around 10-16 jars (depending on size)
3kg granulated sugar
1) Wash, top and tail the gooseberries, discarding any that are damaged. Place a saucer into the freezer.
2) Put the gooseberries and 450ml water into a large pan or preserving pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes
3) Stir in the sugar and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
4) Now, turn up the heat and boil for 10-12 minutes before testing to see if set.
5) Once the jam is ready, turn off the heat, skim off the scum and spoon the jam into clean sterilised jars and seal tightly with screw top lids while the jam is hot.