Friday, 22 July 2016

Gooseberry Chutney; and a Few Words About Gooseberry Jam

Somewhat to my surprise, we got a good crop of gooseberries this year. It's a surprise because we have abandoned the gooseberry patch to weeds, and have neither pruned nor watered them in quite some time. The berries were on the small side, which made them annoying (and time consuming) to top and tail, which alas is something you must do with gooseberries. Also those bushes are prickly. Still, we got enough to make a batch of chutney and a batch of jam.

The jam was a pretty straightforward formula of 2 parts berries to 1 part sugar. I had 5 cups berries and added the juice of 1/2 lemon and a bit of the grated rind to them along with the sugar. I also put 2 tablespoons of water in the pan to keep the sugar moist until the gooseberries started to break down. It took about 20 minutes boiling before it was ready to bottle up, which is about standard in my experience.

As usual this is less sugar than most jam recipes call for, but more than I use for most fruits. Gooseberries are sour though and you should also pick them a tad on the early side - when they start to show some colour but before they fall off the bloody bush/the birds eat them.

It took me most of my free time in a day (4 to 6 hours I would say) to top and tail my 8 cups of gooseberries. This means breaking or snipping off both the stem and the little brown spike they have on the other end. Both will do bad things to the texture of whatever you are making with your gooseberries. I have to say I would really like to find a variety of gooseberry with much bigger berries to make this chore less tedious, but good luck in this country. The English have lots, but we cannot have them. *Presses nose to the window of the internet.*

I think this would go well with pork or chicken. Turkey would be good or any poultry really. Goose, in case you couldn't tell, is traditional, as are oily fish like mackerel. We don't get mackerel here but I would serve it with salmon or trout. I'd certainly give it a go with lamb. Really, I think about the only meat I would not serve it with is beef and I could very well be wrong about that. 

7 125-ml jars
50 minutes prep time

Gooseberry Chutney with Chicken

3 cups prepared gooseberries
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons very finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 to 6 green cardamom pods
8 to 10 allspice berries

Top and tail the gooseberries.Put the jars into a large pot or canner (with a rack so they are not in contact with the bottom of the pot). Bring them to a boil. Boil 10 minutes.

When the water is starting to steam, put all the remaining ingredients into a large heavy-bottomed pot or jam kettle. Bring to a boil and boil until thick, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently.

Put the lids and rims on to boil in a pot of water. Boil according to manufacturers directions; 1 minute. 

Empty the jars back into the pot of boiling water and fill them with the prepared chutney. Wipe the rims of the jars with a bit of paper towel dipped in the boiling water, and seal them with the prepared lids and metal rims. Return them to the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and set them on a board to cool and seal. Label and keep in a cool, dark spot; refrigerate once open.


by adele said...

I came across your blog when hunting for information about plantings in August, ie. peas, lettuce. I read your article about gooseberries, lamenting that you cannot get the larger type of gooseberry in Canada. My elderly ex Mother-in-law (91) is from Yorkshire and was so excited by the berries obtained from our gooseberry bush. They are exactly the type she ate as a girl in Yorkshire. We have no idea where this plant came from; the original just showed up on the fence line one year. Sadly, the bush was attacked by a type of caterpiller this year but it still has produced a lot of berries. No amount of soapy water stopped the pesky caterpillers but the plant will survive. You are welcome to a cutting.

Adele Vath-Nolan

Ferdzy said...
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