August 19, 2018

Gooseberry jam - without addition of gelling powder

I keep practicing my jam skills in my own little kitchen after my return from the Summer preserves course, so I continue to make jam without using natural food ingredient such as pectin in powder format. It is more of a challenge, a least for me to rely 100% on the natural pectin content from the fruit itself combined with addition of high levels of sugar (close to 45% of the jam is sugar) and finding the specific time, when you have cooked the jam enough, so it WILL set in the glass afterwards. And when I have wait sometimes for up to 1-1½ day, before I am sure, that the jam will set.

This time I was invited into the garden of a good rowing friend here in Vejle, who has bushes of red gooseberries in her garden. I am big fan of gooseberries, well not a big fan of picking gooseberries as the bush will defend it´s berries by pinching your arms and fingers, while picking the berries. Again I decided to test of a recipe on gooseberry jam from the jam book "First Preserves". I got 6 jars of gooseberry jam from this portion, which I as usual is not able to eat myself ! So, I decided again to bring the extra glasses with me to work, where I have been selling the extra jam jar for 15 DKK (approx 2 €) to my colleagues. Later this year I will donate the entire sum of money from this jam to charity ( So fare I have been selling all the extra jam jars of classic blackcurrant jam for 125 DKK.

If you want to be 100% sure, that your gooseberry blackcurrant jam will set, when you should have a look into this recipe: gooseberry jam with vanilla, where you have the natural pectin powder to ensure, that the gelling will take place.

Gooseberry jam: - 6 glasses
  • 1 kg black currant
  • 450 ml water
  • 1.4 kg sugar
  1. Prepare the gooseberries by washing the berry, removing any leaves and the flower end.
  2. Place the gooseberries in a large cooking pan and pour in the water. Bring the fruit to the boil, and let fruit simmer gently, until the fruit is tender, approx 15 minutes, until all the fruit has broken down.
  3. Prepare the jam glasses either by heating up in the oven or adding boiling water to them.
  4. Add the sugar into the fruit mass and stir until it is dissolved.
  5. Bring the jam to a rolling boil and boil hard until the setting point is reached. 
  6. Test of set after 5 minutes using the flake test.  I also check, that the temperature has reached 104.5'C.
  7. When the setting point is reached, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to stand for 5 minutes. As the jam settles, push any scums from the surface of the pan to the side and remove it with a metal spoon. The purpose for the waiting step is well to build viscosity in jam, so the fruit pieces will be trapped inside the jam inside of be going to the top of jam.
  8. Gently stir the jam after the resting time and pour it into the prepared glasses, fill the glasses up to the brim. Remove any scum for the surface of the jam using a tea spoon. Close the glass with a lid.
  9. Leave the glass upright and disturbed to cool and set.
  10. Store at ambient temperature.

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