Gooseberries for making jam are best when they just start to blush. Pick all of the berries in one sitting in order to get enough to make jam. The recipe below is for a quart of berries. I cooked two 6 quart batches which was manageable but don’t recommend going beyond 6 quarts of berries at a time. The recipe below can be adjusted to suit the amount of berries you are processing.
3 quarts (12 cups) gooseberries
6 cups sugar
5 oz water
4 pint jars (or you can use 8 half-pint jars), lids and rings
Sterilize glass jars by boiling them for 10 minutes and leaving them in the hot water until ready to use. Simmer, do not boil, the lids and rings and leave them in the hot water until ready to use.
Remove the stem and flower ends from the gooseberries (an time consuming task best done in front of a movie, I miss my little helpers that are all grown up and have flown the coop). Rinse berries and strain. Place cleaned and rinsed berries and water in a large stockpot. Over medium heat (do not let the bottom burn) slowly heat the berries and bring to a boil. Cook berries in a slow boil for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning. The berries will change from transparent to opaque and eventually split and become “soupy”.
Add the sugar, stir to dissolve completely, return to a boil and continue cooking in a slow boil 30 minutes more, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning. Test to see if the jam is “set”- take a teaspoon of the jam and pour it onto a small dish/bowl that has been in the freezer. If it solidifies and firms it is done, if it is still runny continue to simmer for 10 more minutes and then test again. I also judge by the change in color, the initial green will become a warm reddish rust color like the ripest of berries.
Pour or ladle the hot jam into the drained and still hot glass jars, wipe the edges of the jars with a paper towel dipped in water (tear several small sections of paper towel from one sheet rather than a whole sheet per jar), secure the lids with the rings, place in a canning pot, fill with water to cover at least 1 inch above the jars and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Cool 12-24 hours in the hot water bath.
I use the recipe from HEMMETS KOKBOK, the classic Swedish cookbook first published in 1903 as an “instructional book in home economics”. I have a 1925 edition that was gifted to me years before I realized that the kitchen would be my studio. It includes pages illustrated to identify fish, fowl, mushrooms and how to butcher farm animals. I am using the 1984 edition gifted to me by my mother, one of my great inspirations. I cross referenced with the National Center for Home Food Preservation hosted by the University of Georgia.