homemade raspberry and gooseberry jams

homemade raspberry and gooseberry jams

Yesterday my dear husband made two types of jam–gooseberry and raspberry.  I tried both on my toast this morning (Ezekiel 7 Sprouted Grain bread–I’m finding my tummy doesn’t get so bloated when I eat sprouted wheat as opposed to white or whole wheat).  And both jams were oh, so yummy I don’t know which one I liked best!  I’ll have to keep taste testing I guess…

Here’s the easy-peasy recipe for Gooseberry Jam using Sure-Jell pectin:

5 and 1/2 cups prepared gooseberries (which is 2 and 1/2 quarts of picked fruit; remove stems and blossoms)
1 box of Sure-Jell pectin (I’ve stopped using the low sugar variety b/c it doesn’t preserve the jam as well and what’s a few more cups of sugar to a recipe anyway!)
1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine
7 cups sugar

our gooseberry bush--watch out, one is all you need for loads of fruit!

our gooseberry bush--watch out, one is all you need for loads of fruit!

From here, just follow the instructions for making a cooked jam on your Sure-Jell (or other commercial pectin) package.  George water-bath canned the jars for however long is required for jam–10 or 20 minutes I think.  I’m not at home to ask him!  But, it should all be in your instructions.

A few things I’ve learned about making jam in the last few years:

Low sugar jams don’t keep as long.  They will not look as good in color and their texture is more mushy.  This is especially true with strawberry jam, which gets really pale and mushy this way.  Since I’m only using a teaspoon or two of jam at a time and since sugar has only 10 calories per teaspoon, I figure it’s still a pretty low-calorie, low sugar food to have in my diet.  I’m not bothering with low sugar pectin and recipes anymore, even though to use more sugar than fruit as in some of these recipes seems a little outrageous!

It is not worth it to “save” a step and not water-bath can your jams.  Many old-timers have said not to bother with this step, that you can just pack hot jam into hot sterilized jars, put on a sterilized lid and ring and your jam will seal.  Well, in too many cases the lid does not get a good seal and then you’ll find moldy jam sitting in your pantry a few months down the road.  I get really depressed when all that work and all that yummy fresh local fruit turned into jam has to get thrown out!  Do yourself a favor and can your jam.  It’s really not hard, and it doesn’t need to be processed in the canner for a long time at all.

Jams make wonderful Christmas and hostess gifts, so you can never have too much!

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