Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam

Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam is successful to make and usually sets nicely.  If you’re lucky, the jam will turn from green to pink as it nears it’s jammy readiness! Enjoy on fresh bread and butter but equally good on toast.

2lb gooseberries
3/4 pint water
3lb sugar (preserving or ordinary)
Elderflowers 5-6 heads
Suggested Equipment
Piece of clean (sterilised) muslin – optional
Preserving pan or saucepan with a heavy bottom!
 5/6 1lb jam jars that have been properly cleaned and sterilised (run through the dishwasher then dry them upside down in a low oven)
Wax circles and transparent jam pot covers – optional but good if you have them as they seal in the freshness  and protect the lids until you are ready to use
Glass measuring jug and funnel – optional but makes pouring the jam into jars easier. Both need to be sterilised.

All of the above is available on the high street or online – just search for jam making equipment.

1. Wash your elderflowers and make a bag with the muslin to put the flowers into. If you don’t have any muslin, you can pluck off all the tiny flowers and throw them in right at the end.
2. Bring gooseberries to the boil and let them simmer until soft.
3. Take off the heat, then add sugar.  Stir until all the sugar has dissolved (if you use a wooden spoon, you can feel if there is any undissolved).
4. Put back on to heat and bring to boil.  Hang the muslin bag from the saucepan handle so that it is submerged in the jam.
5. Simmer until you get to the jam setting point (see instructions below). Remove the muslin or add the elderflowers if you haven’t used a muslin.
6. Put into jars a.s.a.p.  Wipe off any spills (be careful, the jars will be hot!), add wax circles and jam pot covers, then screw lid on tightly.
How to test for jam setting point
You can use a thermometer but I also recommend doing the saucer test as well as because even when the jam’s reached the right temperature it is sometimes still too watery to set.  You’ll notice that it starts to cling to the spoon and reduces down quite a bit once it’s ready.  But you don’t want to over cook the jam otherwise it will set solid in the jars. This is called ‘cheese’ and was popular in medieval times to serve with meats but it’s not very good for spreading on your toast!
The saucer test: Put a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes then drop a teaspoon of your jam on the cold saucer.  After a couple of minutes, drag a spoon through the jam on the saucer.  If the jam ripples it is ready.
I always add less sugar than stated but if you are not confident with jam-making follow the recipe first so that the jam sets nicely, then if you find it too sweet you can adjust the sugar next time.
Most recipes say add a knob of butter at the end to disperse the scum but I find that this disappears on its own, so I don’t add any.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to taste the jam when hot as it will burn your mouth!
Happy preserving!
Simply Delish, Lambourn
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