Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gooseberry jam

As promised, I experimented with the gooseberries I got at the Roundup Saturday Market. Yum!

Cooked gooseberries do not taste anything like raw ones. The added sugar improves them quite a bit. The cooked jam has something of a plum-like taste, with a tart/sour nuance that is very pleasant.

Christa Phillips, who gave me the recipe, was a bit vague: simmer gooseberries with brown sugar, add vanilla extract or bean, or cinnamon, and serve. She recommended a crockpot but said a pan on low heat and watched very carefully would work, too.

My version of what Christa told me follows.

To prepare the gooseberries, pull off stem and flower end. (The berry on the top is ready to go.) This process is tedious, so settle down with a good TV show or a contemplative view of the garden.

Gooseberry Jam

brown sugar
vanilla or cinnamon

For every cup of berries (stems and flower ends removed), use 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Put berries and sugar in a crockpot or a noncorrosive pan.

You'll have to do your own experiment with the crockpot, but in the pan, over lowest heat on my stove, I simmered the berries and sugar together for 2 hours. After 1 hour, I gently mashed the berries with a fork. Other than mashing the berries, I left the pan alone. [Note: If you are making a tart, take the pan off the stove after an hour and don't mash the berries.]

Take pan off heat (or turn off crockpot), let cool, and then stir in vanilla or cinnamon. The jam will thicken as it cools.

Put in a jar and keep in the refrigerator.

1 cup berries makes about 1/2 cup jam.

In the German fashion, Christa eats this jam on bread that has been covered first with sour cream. She also suggested using it in a tart with layers of: shortbread crust, vanilla pudding or custard, gooseberry jam, and whipped cream.

I tried it on an English muffin I bought at the Billings farmers market, and I can say my attitude toward gooseberries has improved considerably.

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