We went fruit picking the other week! The only thing that was really plentiful due to our BEAUTIFUL British summertime (sigh) were the gooseberries and rhubarb, so of course I picked the most ridiculous quantity I could and brought it all home in readiness for kitchen fun.
Here I am in a fetching rhubarb hat:
I’ve separated the stems into thin, medium and thick so I can use the more delicate stems for desserts when I want pretty poached rhubarb in it’s natural shape or thicker stems for squadging under pastry or crumble in winter time.
Both of these fruits (is rhubarb a fruit? Or a root?) freeze really well so I cooked up a batch of gooseberry jam to start off with and then froze everything else ready for inspiration to strike. Current ideas for the rest of it are:
Individual Rhubarb, Yoghurt and Meringue “Trifles”
Gooseberry Crumble (of course)
Roast Pork with Gooseberry Relish
Rhubarb and Custard Tarts
When they’re made, they’ll go up on here…
Now jam. Jam is really anyone’s game, it is so easy to make but just make sure the fruit you are using has enough pectin to set. Raspberries and strawberries, for instance, are low in pectin, while apples, citrus fruits, gooseberries and currants are high. If your fruits are low in pectin you can add lemon juice or use a jam sugar with pectin added to assist the setting process. Amazing info on this website www.jamworld.co.uk That’s right… Jam World. I’d like to go there!
Gooseberries have a high pectin level so expect your jam to set within about 8 minutes of boiling. I use a jam thermometer to measure mine but the frozen saucer trick works just as well. Put a few saucers in the freezer before you start cooking the jam. When it starts to look ready (see note about colour below), take a saucer out of the freezer and put a small dollop of the jam on the surface. Leave it for a minute (take the jam off the heat while you do this) and then gently push the edge of the dollop. If it wrinkles, it’s done!
Any quantity of gooseberries
The same quantity of caster sugar
(I used 600g of gooseberries and 600g sugar and it made 3 x 0.35L jars so expect your overall quantity to reduce by about a quarter after cooking)
a tiny dash of water
Wash and pick over your berries. You want to cut off the little brown stalks on each gooseberry. It takes time, but put the radio on .
Now put your gooseberries in the pan with a tiny splash of water (goseberries will release a huge amount of liquid when heated so this is just to stop them sticking for the first moment) and heat until they start to release their liquid. Now add the sugar and bring to the boil. Boil for around 8 minutes (it can take between 5 and 12 minutes to be ready depending on the quantity of fruit. Mine took about 10 minutes)
Gooseberry jam is magic. It will go from green:
When the jam is ready. Put it into sterilized jars and ENJOY!
Don’t forget to visit www.pexmas.com for the latest info on the #MUNCH food festival! Coming up in less than 2 weeks! Eek!