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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Midsummer bounty

Our gooseberry bush is groaning with fruit. I can claim no credit for this. It was here when we moved in some 15 years ago, in an awkward spot under a large, untamed walnut tree. It fights for space with nettles and long grass, and all it has received in the way of attention is one dose of compost early on in the year. My more pampered fruit bushes have not fared well, my raspberries are disastrous and the birds ate all the redcurrants. But the gooseberries are looking very fine indeed.

Today's mission was to harvest some, and put them to good use. I never really liked gooseberries until last year, when I visited Riverford Organics' Travelling Field Kitchen and tasted the most incredible gooseberry fool, made with real custard and fresh cream. It got me thinking that I should try harder with my own crop.
So, today's task was some strawberry and gooseberry jam.

Half a kilo of each into the pan to simmer for ten minutes. Then, sugar, around a kilo, or according to taste.

Dissolve the sugar, then bring the pan to a rolling boil. Gooseberries contain loads of pectin, so there are no problems getting this jam to set. It was cooked in under ten minutes. I let it cool for about half an hour, and then ladled into the jars which I've been storing since last year's jam season.

Jam for tea! My sister in law is coming to stay for the night, so I made a cake at the same time. I found a great new recipe in this book:

Honey and ginger cake with a fresh raspberry sauce. More summer fruits to relish....

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