A new jam experiment

This year we have an allotment. On this allotment are inherited gooseberry bushes, one of which has been extremely prolific in fruit production. I harvested nearly the entire fruit crop today and spent a long time topping and tailing them all.

Most of the fruits were destined for the freezer, however you know me, I just couldn’t resist having a bash at making some jam. And as usual, I used my standard receipe of equal parts fruit and sugar with water, the details that follow will remind you how I make my jam.

I used my last recipe for Blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant jam, substituting those berries for gooseberries entirely.

Cooking time:
Approx 30 minutes.
Makes approx 1 jar (Kilner – 500 grams/ml)

333 gm gooseberries
333 gm sugar
200 ml water

Cooking instructions:
Place a saucer into the freezer to chill (to test the setting point of the jam).

Sterilise the jam jars – wash the jars in soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Allow them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in the oven set to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Leave them there for at least half an hour while you make the jam.

Put the gooseberries into a pan with the water
Bring to simmer
Simmer for 15-20 minutes

Add the sugar and stir on a low heat until all the sugar is dissolved.
To check if the sugar is dissolved, coat the back of the spoon with the juice and check that no sugar crystals are visible.
Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil, then boil on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture to start the cooling process.
Test to see if set on a cold saucer by putting a teaspoonful of jam on the chilled saucer (that you have now taken out of the freezer) and allow it to cool completely.
Then push the mixture with your finger, if it begins to wrinkle and sit up proudly without any liquid running out, the preserve is set. If it slides about as a liquid, then it hasn’t yet reached setting point and the pan of jam mixture should be returned to the heat and boiled for 3 more minutes before testing again. Repeat this process until the preserve is set.
Once the test mixture sets, stand the pan for 10-15 minutes so that the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom of your jam once it is transferred to your jar.

Pour the mixture from your pan into the hot sterilised jar, seal and allow to cool.

When I made the jam this time, there was some caramelised mixture on the bottom of the pan, I decided to risk mixing it in to the jam to add a bit of flavour to the preserve, I think it made the end result a little darker in colour, but other than that did not seem to convey any negative affects.

Of course that little bit of jam on the chilled saucer is excellent to test the taste of my jam. so, what is the verdict?

The jam is very pleasant taste-wise, however it is a little bit on the sweet side, with not quite enough gooseberry flavour, for mine and my husbands tastebuds. So next time I make gooseberry jam I am going to adjust the quantities slightly. Possibly a dangerous step, but as I only ever make about one jar at a time, the risk is reduced as regards wasted fruit, and anyway without experimentation things cannot be improved.
This is my intended recipe ratio:
366 gm gooseberries
300 gm sugar
200 ml water
I figure that the volume of ‘solid’ to ‘liquid’ should remain balanced and hopefully produce a more tangy jam. We shall see, and shall report further, when I next make gooseberry jam