Friday, June 29, 2012

Elderflower and gooseberry jam

Yesterday I picked my first crop of gooseberries, variety 'Leveller'.

It's only a young bush so I was very happy with a yield of 750g.

As there are still some Elderflower heads in the hedgerows I decided to make Elderflower and Gooseberry jam, which I've never tried before, as I've heard they make a good combination.

So for 750g gooseberries I had 5 heads of Elderflowers.

I topped and tailed the gooseberries, washed the Elderflowers, removed their stalks and tied them up in a piece of muslin.

I added 350ml water and  the gooseberries to a heavy-bottomed pan and placed a small plate into the freezer (more on that later).

Then I tied the muslin bag of Elderflowers and placed it on top of the gooseberries, tying it to the pan handle so it was easy to remove.

I simmered the mixture for about 30 minutes by which time it had reduced by about 1/3.

Whilst it was simmering I warmed 750g sugar (just plain old granulated) and the jam jars.

I removed the pan from the heat, took out the bag of Elderflowers and squeezed the liquid back into the pan.

With the pan still off the heat, I added the warmed sugar to the mixture and stirred it over a low heat until it was dissolved completely.

Then I boiled the mixture rapidly, without stirring,  for about 6 minutes, until it reached the 'jam' temperature on the thermometer.

I removed the pan from the heat whilst I tested to see if was setting.

I tested for 'set' by dropping a spoonful of the mixture onto a cold plate (I'd put it into the freezer when I started making the jam).

The first test wasn't quite ready so I boiled it for another 2 minutes.

The next test showed it was ready - I've tried to show how the mixture wrinkles when you push it with your finger.

The white ring around the mixture is the scum and should be removed before bottling.

I used a metal spoon to skim it off.

I spooned it into jam jars (I have a jam funnel which I put into the neck of the jars which makes it easy) to within .5cm of the top and sealed them with their lids.

There was just a little bit left when I'd filled the jars so I put it into a small bowl for tasting when it had cooled.

I couldn't wait to try it as the smell was absolutely amazing!

As soon as it had set I tasted it and it was wonderful.  The combination works a treat.  

The only thing I would change is I think that when I make it again I might use slightly fewer Elderflowers.  Having said that, when spread thinly on a fruit scone, homemade of course, it was divine.

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