This summer was an extraordinarily good one for growing soft fruit. Rhubarb, raspberries, gooseberries, tayberries, blackcurrants and strawberries all produced massive crops.
We seemed to be eating fresh raspberries and strawberries with every meal. I feel I’ve eaten my own weight in pies and crumbles. We have enough jam to last for years. And still the freezer drawers are stuffed with fruit.
With Christmas approaching rapidly, freezer space just had to be created, so I’ve been experimenting with gooseberries and I’m happy to share the knowledge acquired at great personal sacrifice.
An interesting gooseberry jelly recipe.
Put 500g of green gooseberries in a saucepan with a few mls of water and heat gently until the fruit is soft. Crush fruit with a potato masher and rub it through a fine sieve. Return the pulp to the pan, add 300mls of water, re-heat and crush again. Pass through the sieve, combining the two lots of collected liquid.
Transfer the liquid to the pan and heat gently. Add sugar slowly, stirring to dissolve. Keep tasting and adding sugar until it tastes just right for you, the tartness of the fruit just off-set by the sugar.
Dissolve in a setting agent. I use VegeSet, it’s tasteless, dissolves easily and sets reliably.
Line up your favourite wine glasses. How many you need will depend upon how much juice you extracted from the gooseberries.
Thinly slice some ripe strawberries and put a 3cm layer in the bottom of each glass. Cover the strawberries in a generous tot of gin, then fill the glass with the gooseberry liquid and place in the fridge.
As the alcoholic jelly sets, red colour is leached from the strawberries and the final colour is a pretty mix of red and green.
It’s a bonus that I can enjoy eating them while feeling noble about creating freezer space.