This year we picked 45 lbs of gooseberries. Way too many to even consider de-stemming and “flowerending” for the traditional jam.
After cleaning (removing stems and flower ends) 5 gallons of berries for freezing (gooseberry makes a great pie), giving 10 lbs to our local brewery Relic for a Gooseberry Wit the rest were rinsed with stems and flower ends still intact for jam.
16 cups gooseberries (stems and ends in tact)
3/4 cup water
5 cups sugar
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. Wash lids and rings and leave lids in water until ready to use.
Rinse and strain berries. Place 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. reduce heat and cook berries at 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”. Set aside to cool.
Strain the berries. I use a kitchen aid attachment.
Place strained pulp and the sugar in a large stock pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the gooseberry and sugar mixture to a boil over medium high heat stirring frequently. Reduce heat cooki at a slow boil 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent 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 jam slowly becomes a warm reddish rust color like the ripest of berries. I have found that it needs about 45 minutes to reach this point but adjust to your taste. Cooked for an hour you will have a very firm jam.
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. Remove the rings, wipe dry, secure the rings and label.
The original recipe is 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.