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Gooseberry Jam Recipe
Gooseberries, those adorable hairy green fruits that look like grape-sized, opaque watermelons and taste like a sour cross between kiwi and strawberries, are related to currants and have a very short season, so take advantage of them when you have the chance.
But what does one do with these fruits? Why, make jam, of course!
Cook them in a style similar to cooking cranberries, and you can enjoy the jam or sauce with sweet or savory dishes. I'll show you how to pair this lovely jam with crumpets and ice cream for a British twist on American strawberry shortcake.
- One cup gooseberries, topped and tailed (top and bottom removed)
- One cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons acidic juice (lemon or orange)
- 1/4 cup water (or a small amount of apple juice)
How to Make Gooseberry Jam
- Add the berries, sugar, and acidic juice to a medium saucepan. If you prefer a looser jam, add a small amount of water or apple juice. The jam will be extremely thick and sticky if you do not add the extra liquid.
- Bring the mixture to a hard boil over high heat. This will take about six to seven minutes.
- Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, until the skins of the berries break and the fruit becomes soft, stirring occasionally.
- While cooking, gently press the berries against the side of the pot with a large spoon if you prefer a less lumpy jam.
- Once finished cooking, remove from the heat and allow to cool. The high level of pectin will jell the mixture within about 30 minutes, especially if you decide to cool it off in the refrigerator.
- Serve, and enjoy! I prefer to serve this dish cool with sweets (in the title picture, I toasted a crumpet, added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and spooned the gooseberry jam/sauce over), but you can also serve this jam warm as an accompaniment to duck, pork, or turkey.
Colors of Gooseberries
- The raw green berries are extremely crunchy, almost like a Granny Smith apple, with a bright sour-tart, addictive taste. But don't eat too many of these as they are unripe and may affect your stomach in a bad way.
- As gooseberries ripen on the bush, they become darker and redder in color. They will taste less tart as they become more red.
- Although bright and attractive when raw, the cooked berries lose their vibrant color and take on more of a "salsa verde" look.
Tips About Gooseberries
- The flavor of the finished jam is very sweet, so cut the sugar (and the calories) if you prefer.. or substitute with Splenda or another no-calorie sweetener.
- Gooseberries are related to currants, although they are significantly larger.
- When picking gooseberries, be careful! They grow on a spiny bush on which you can easily scrape your hands and arms. Wear gardening gloves and protect yourself!
- Inside the berries are tiny edible seeds, the same color as the berry itself. So it appears there are gooseberries inside gooseberries!
Other Gooseberry Dishes
Treat gooseberries the same as you would other berries. Here are some ideas:
- In pies, crumbles, and fools. A gooseberry strawberry pie would be terrific -- similar to strawberry rhubarb!
- Freeze and scrape the jam for a yummy granita.
- In drinks. Try throwing in several gooseberries in your next green smoothie, or juicing a few with apples, cucumber, and mint for a powerful boost!
Have you ever tried gooseberries?
If you can't be bothered to cook these berries or are hard-pressed to find them out of season, simply buy pre-made preserves to sample their distinctive flavor.