It’s been a very exciting old time lately what with having been short listed in the MAD Blog Awards for Best Food Blog and then last week I was featured in The Sun (a secret ambition) which came as a huge shock as I just expected a few of my tips to be used in an article! I’ve popped it at the bottom of this post if you’re interested! But anyway enough about about frippery lets get onto the important stuff, my latest jam creation – Gooseberry & Apple Jam! A couple of weeks ago my dad dropped round a large carrier bag of gooseberries that he’d been invited to pick in a local allotment after a chance encounter over the phone! Last year it was Mirabelles from a new neighbour so I just want to say “keep up the good work dad”! I must say gooseberries remind me so much of my childhood as we often had them in desserts but I don’t think I ever really appreciated them at the time. It’s only in recent years I’ve missed seeing them as they seem to have completely fallen out of fashion in the supermarkets. Hence I hadn’t eaten a gooseberry since I was a child and had never cooked one either!
So when a glut of fruit comes to my door my first thought is always jam, after all I am “The Crazy Jam Lady” according to my daughter! I thought a straightforward gooseberry jam would be nice but then there would be umpteen recipes for that so I shelved that idea. I then racked my brain for what would go well with gooseberries (which from memory had quite a delicate flavour) and the obvious answer was apple. I love adding apple to jams as it gives them such a delicate note. I enlisted the help of my daughter (yes there was probably some bribery of going to get her favourite magazine) and she topped and tailed all the gooseberries for me. I started her off with some small scissors which worked well on the green spike but for the bearded tufts it was easier to pinch them out and I think another time tweezers would be a good option. Next we took it in turns stirring the jam and I gave my daughter the honour of doing the plate test which worked first time and after putting her finger through the jam she proceeded to lick the plate clean and declared the jam was delicious. She then proceeded to say that she would be having it for breakfast the next morning, high praise indeed!
We then took it in turns to ladle the hot jam into the jars and I had to wait to try my new Gooseberry & Apple jam the following day and I was really pleased with the outcome. The gooseberries and apple are a perfect match in this delicate pink jam (being a newbie I was amazed how a pan of green gooseberries turned pink when the sugar was added). The jam was so good I was then torn as to which jam to enter into the local Parish Show which is this weekend. I had planned to enter my Rhubarb and Strawberry! I’ll keep you guessing for now! I have entered the last 2 Parish shows with my Peach & Apricot Jam and last year my One Punnet Strawberry Jam and won 1st prize both times so I think it will be a very tall order to win a third time but I’ll keep you posted!
- 1 Kg Unripe gooseberries, trimmed
- 500g Bramley (cooking) apples, cored, peeled & chopped into roughly 1.5cm pieces
- 1.5 Kg Granulated sugar
- 500 mls Water
- Start by placing 2 saucers in the freezer (for testing).
- Put the water into a large preserving sized pan and add the apples as you prepare them (to prevent browning).
- Bring pan to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the gooseberries and simmer for a further 15 minutes until the skins are soft.
- On a low heat (not simmering), add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and time for 15 minutes.
- Place a few drops of jam onto saucer and pop in the fridge for 30 seconds.
- Run a finger through the mixture and if it forms a crinkle and is jelly like it's ready.
- If the jam isn't ready carry on boiling for 2 minutes at a time a re-do the test until it is.
- Remove any scum with a spoon.
- Ladle into hot jar sterilised jars and cover with lids immediately.
- Makes about 5 - 6 large jars.
If you’d like some more gooseberry inspiration then check out these recipes from some fellow bloggers: