The time for bulk orders from our farm coop has arrived. Some berries had a rough time this year because of our harsh winter, so I was glad to get these gooseberries. Mum really likes gooseberry jam so I wanted to make some to bring her when we visit Ireland next week.

Topping and tailing – a slog

Making the jam was a lot of work. I was in the kitchen for about 3.5 hours because I made two different batches. The first was a Gooseberry and Golden Raisin Conserve from my Bell Preserving book and the second was the one I made last year, a very simple jam recipe from the BBC.

Starting up the conserve

The jams took a good long time to boil to gel point. I discovered when making strawberry jams two weeks prior that I wasn’t really a fan of pectin. I tried a different strawberry jam recipe to last year without pectin first, but Eoin was potty training and that batch did not go well because I did not have any patience left… So I tried some pectin recipes for Strawberry and Strawberry Rhubarb, neither of which set according to the instructions in my Bell book ( I guess boiling hard for one minute after adding pectin just wouldn’t cut it for my jams). I also found the color of the jams is just way too weird. Sure, you use less fruit and it takes less time, but it doesn’t have a deep color and a jammy feel, and I also experienced fruit separation. I decided I will try and stick to the old fashioned way in the future. And that’s what I did with the gooseberry jam, which I haven’t even tried yet! We had too many other jams in the fridge! (I also made an excellent raspberry jam when Lovisa and Andreas were visiting…)

Looking forward to trying these out

Can you believe after all that jam making that I still had some gooseberries left? Last year I made a delicious cordial with lemon balm and gooseberries but this year I had a surplus of mint instead, so I made another BBC recipe, Gooseberry and Mint Lemonade cordial.

Once I got past the prospect of topping and tailing MORE gooseberries…

It was worth it


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