Monday, 13 July 2015

Gooseberry and Mint Jelly.

Allotment: From Plan to Plot to Platter: Search results for gooseberries
Gooseberries make a satisfyingly sharp jelly especially if used while slightly unripe
900 gms / 2lbs gooseberries

600ml/1 pint water
Sugar ( see method)
Large bunch of mint
½ litre [1 pint] washed, dried and finely chopped mint leaves
1. Wash the gooseberries and remove leaves or pieces of twig - it isn’t necessary to top and tail them.
2. Put in a pan with the water and the large bunch of mint (use a large pan, like a preserving pan if you have).
3. Bring to the boil then simmer gently until the fruit is soft, approx 10 minutes.
Use a wooden spoon to crush the fruit occasionally as it cooks, a little more water may be added if necessary.
4. Strain the fruit through a jelly bag or muslin bag – leave overnight.
Do not squeeze the bag or the jelly will be cloudy.

5. Measure the juice and add 450g/1 lb sugar to each 600ml/1 pint juice
6. Put the juice into a clean large saucepan or preserving pan, add the sugar and heat gently, stirring to ensure all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
7. Skim and put into pots. Allow it to cool slightly, then add the chopped mint and stir a little to encourage the mint to mix evenly through the jelly. [If you add the mint immediately it will stay on the surface of the jelly].
Two sorts of jelly:
- Gooseberry and Mint

For the first I cooked the smallest fruits - sorted from the jam session - down with a little water and a few mint sprigs, dripped through a jelly bag overnight, then measured the liquid the next day.
I added an equal amount of sugar, stirred to dissolve then boiled to a set.
I had a couple of handfuls of mint leaves, finely chopped, which I threw in once the jelly was ready to be potted.
This keeps the colour of the herb and stops it going too dark, it doesn't need cooking as such.
Remember to wait a little while before potting - around 15 minutes - to prevent all of the mint rising to the top of the jar.
A fantastic flavour with roast meats or oily fish.
Or try using it, warmed to melt it a little, brushed over a fresh tomato tart to glaze a Summer lunch favourite.
————— *** -----------
- Gooseberry and Elderflower.
This recipe is using 1.5 kg prepared fruit.

I started by rinsing the fruit and packing it into the washed jars - it is best to prick each fruit to stop them collapsing when cooked.
Its a bit painstaking but I found if I used my small sharp knife to spear each fruit out of the colander to transfer it to the jar - makes the job less tedious.
The rubber seals from the jars should be put into a heatproof jug and pour over boiling water.

In a big pan put
- 454g soft brown or demerera sugar,
- 110g cornflour,
- 1 tsp salt and
- vanilla pod
and stir together to mix.

Gradually add 1.5 litres cold water and stir until smooth.
Gradually heat up to the boil, stirring continuously.
Once thickened pour over the fruit in the jar.
Tap the jars gently on the work surface to remove air bubbles or run a knife around the jar sides if this is easier.
Tuck a couple of halves of vanilla pod down the sides of each jar, and leave a gap of about 3 cm at the top and replace the rubber seals to the lids.

Clip the jars down and place in a pan on a cloth, covering the jars with cold water.
Turn on the heat, bring to the boil, and maintain a simmer for 20 minutes.
Lift the jars out with jar tongs and leave to cool overnight.
Next day, release the clips to make sure the seals are sealed properly.

You can now squirrel the jars away all ready for some Winter crumbles. ( I liked the look of this so much I made a second batch.)

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