General ramblings

Gooseberry fool…

My lovely neighbour very kindly allowed us to go and help ourselves to the gooseberries on their bush while they were away on holiday.

Which was fab.

Gooseberry jam1

But I have learned….

1) Gooseberry bushes are VERY prickly
2) Small children are not that great at keeping precious gooseberries in tupperware containers and may even find it amusing to tip them all over the floor
3) Topping and tailing gooseberries is very tedious

However, despite these revelations, we ended up with a reasonable haul.
I made a cake (recipe to come) which is DE-LICIOUS, and then decided to make some jam.

Now, you would think I would have learned by now, that any kind of making is best done as a planned procedure, when there is plenty of time available, and ideally, Small people are otherwise occupied, or asleep.
But no. I haven’t.
And I decided that the best possible time to try and make gooseberry jam, was this morning, before trying to get everyone up and out of the house to get to Pre-School on time.


The jam is a teensy tiny but burnt, and we were a teensy tiny bit late (half an hour-oops!) for Pre-School.
Will I have learned my lesson?

Anyway. If you too have risked life and limb and pricked fingers to plunder some gooseberries, then here is the recipe to make jam:

This is what you need:

  • Equal weights of gooseberries (topped, tailed and rinsed) and granulated sugar-the recipe said 1kg of each, I had 794g of each (not that I am anal when it comes to weighing…)
  • Water-400ml/kg of gooseberries-ie 40ml for every 100g of fruit
  • Preserving pan or large saucepan
  • Jam thermometer (optional)
  • Old jam jars-sterilised
    Do you like this? I found a tutorial on Mamasaurus, to use PicMonkey, and I am ridiculously pleased with this!

    Do you like this? I found a tutorial on Mamasaurus, to use PicMonkey, and I am ridiculously pleased with this!

This is what you do:

  • Pick a time/day when you have plenty of time and aren’t running around trying to do 100 other things, like have a shower, and get 2 Small people dressed, and ready to leave the house…
  • Put your gooseberries and water into your pan and gently simmer for about 5mins until they go a bit mushy
  • Turn the heat right down, and add the sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved
  • Then turn the heat up, to a ‘rolling boil’-ie boiling pretty fast. The recipe said for 12 minutes, or until it reaches setting point, I think mine took longer (maybe this is why is burnt..!)
See, I like it so much, I've done another one..!

See, I like it so much, I’ve done another one..!

So, my jam has a slight burnt sugar taste to it, and although the gooseberries are supposed to do some kind of magic and turn from green to red when cooked, mine is more brown than red…but I think it adds to the character. Or that’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

Gooseberry jam2
I was planning to give my neighbour a jar to say thankyou for the gooseberries, but not sure she would be that chuffed with slightly acrid, slightly too brown gooseberry jam.
Maybe I’ll make her some brownies

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  • Reply Sian Griffiths July 17, 2013 at 8:05 am

    My gooseberries don’t look as healthy as that! Maybe cos they were in the sun all day, are in a large pot, not in the ground. Was looking for a gooseberry fool recipe, need simple me!

  • Reply KnitNell July 16, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Just don’t mention the slight taste of burning – as you hand out jars mention the pinch of ……..(think of a name of a suitably vague spice)… that you added that gives the whole thing a lift. Mmm good luck! Thank you for the link to Mamasauras website – I have just gone and had a look – v lovely site.

    • Reply Jen July 16, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Good idea! Some great tutorials on the Mamasaurus site 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) July 16, 2013 at 4:23 am

    My Gooseberry bush is laden with a heavy crop but won’t be for long now ! Jam jars at the ready … I’ve been collecting lots of little ones for pressies.
    Careful pruning helps to reduce the prickle problem if you leave five main stems which is recommended so the gap is wide enough for cropping. Otherwise gloves are too clumsy for handling the fruit which does seem to have a mind of its own , use a small bucket the deeper the better.

    • Reply Jen July 16, 2013 at 7:38 am

      Enjoy your jam making Vivienne!

  • Reply booketta July 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Our gooseberries are out too and I am picking them. Luckily my children are too old to upset the bowls although I still wouldn’t put it past them, lol 🙂 Yes the bushes are very prickly and I usually come away with thorns and scratches. I made a lovely dessert which lasted two meals and today I made a pie but this wasn’t so well received. it was a recipe from Greg Wallace on the BBC Good food website. My OH usually makes jam but is too busy this year. We usually give a load away too.

    • Reply Jen July 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      All sounds fab!

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