Do not Crumble! 5 other things to do with Gooseberries…..

I have to admit, I was a little over enthusiastic about the picking gooseberries at the weekend, and had overlooked the fact, that on my return to Brussels, I would have to spend hours and hours, boiling, pickling and jarring it all up.  All this at a time when I should have been cheering on England (not that it would have done a lot of good!).  And preparing for my last day at work before the summer.



But never one to see anything go to waste, I couldn’t leave a single gooseberry on my 5 bushes in Holland.  Four hours later, with the help of the kids (who wore gloves sensibly!), I was ripped to shreds and my back was bent double.  But proudly, I had a carrier bag full of gooseberries, and a smile on my face.  It stayed there until later that evening, when the sudden realisation hit me, while whizzing through the internet for gooseberry recipes, that;

a. the most interesting ones had elderflower cordial in them (help, this is Brussels, not suburban Surrey!) and

b. I actually didn’t have many jam jars available to pot up the numerous jam recipes that came to hand.

TG for FB!  Two friends on hearing my plea, sent over jam jars (many thanks – Jules and Niki!!), and Janine promised a delivery of cordial to France in the Summer.  That left me with the recipes to tackle, and over the last 2 days, here are the results, with a little help from my family!! (and without a Crumble in sight!)



Gooseberry and Rhubarb Jam



(Makes 4-5 jars, 455g - 1 lb) - (Type of Set: high)
If growing your own, then use the small berries when thinning fruit bushes in the spring. Combined with rhubarb this makes a another cheap but tasty jam.  I picked mine in June when fully ripened and this recipe still worked perfectly!

  1. Gooseberries: (green) 1kg / 2 lbs
  2. Rhubarb: 1kg / 2 lbs weight cut into 12mm / ½inch lengths
  3. Sugar granulated white: 1.8kg / 4 lbs
  4. Water: none


Prepare fruit by washing in clean water, top an tail gooseberries. Cook the gooseberries and rhubarb together slowly until tender, but not into a pulp.
Now add sugar slowly, stir to ensure that the sugar has completely dissolved (look at the back of the spoon, if you can still see sugar crystals, continue stirring)

The mixture is now ready for the final cooking. The jars are in the oven, the plates in the fridge and you have your thermometer, large plate and skimming spoon ready to hand.
Turn up the heat until the mixture begins to boil rapidly, this will develop into a ‘rolling boil’. At no time during this process do you stir the liquid, as the high temperature is causing the pectin to react. This process will take about 15-20 minutes (the setting time is variable, subject to the amount of pectin in the liquid).

During this boiling stage, you can start skimming off the scum, using the slotted spoon.
If after boiling there is any scum left, use folded paper towel to soak up the last remnants.
The next crucial stage is judging the setting point. If using a sugar thermometer, insert the thermometer in the mixture and watch the reading climb (jams usually sets at 104-106ºc(220-222ºF) at (ground level). It is best to also use the ‘cold plate test’ as a final check. (as I found mine all set around 200 degs)
After 10-12 minutes remove from heat, take a cold plate from the fridge an place a teaspoon of mixture on it. Pop back in fridge for a few minutes, then remove. Holding the plate up to eye level push the edge of the now cold mixture with your finger, if the mixture starts to crinkle as you push it, the mixture has set, no further boiling is required. If only slightly wrinkled, then carry on boiling for the next 5-8 minutes and test again. If no crinkles appear boil for 8-10 minutes.

Allow the jam to cool for a few minutes. Later you will see that some jams and marmalades require longer cooling times. If the jam or jars are too hot, fruit will rise to the top, spoiling the appearance of the finished product.
At this time turn off the oven. Now is the time to remove jars from oven.
Beware! Hot Items. Place the pan on a heat resistant table mat, not on your work surface! Using your wire rack for hot jars, give the jam a stir. Fill your jars using the jam funnel, until the level is 3mm from top. If using metal twist covers put on now. Place hot jars on a table mat, allow to cool.

Label with funky labels from Dille & Kamille, and store somewhere cool as great gifts for your friends in the winter!

(with the second batch I used 400g rhubarb and 1.6kgs of gooseberries….it’s no problem to alter the quantities)

via JamWorld: Home made and exhibition Preserves. Mixed Jam page.



Gooseberry jam





  1. Wash, top and tail the gooseberries, discarding any that are damaged. Place a saucer into the freezer.
  2. Put the gooseberries and 150ml/5fl oz water into a large pan or preserving pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit is softened.
  3. Stir in the sugar and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 8-10 minutes before testing to see if set.
  5. To test whether the jam has set: take the saucer from the freezer and drop a small spoonful of jam on to it. Allow it to cool for a minute then push your finger through the jam – if it wrinkles it’s ready; if not, boil for a few more minutes. Continue testing until the jam is ready. (Always remove the jam from the heat while you’re testing so that if it’s ready you won’t overcook it.)
  6. Meanwhile, sterilise the jam jars – first wash the jars in soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Allow them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in the oven set to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Leave them there for at least half an hour while you make the jam.
  7. Once the jam is ready, turn off the heat, skim off any scum and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Spoon the jam into clean sterilised jars and seal tightly with screw top lids while the jam is hot.

This recipe is simple and makes really delicious jam!

via BBC – Food – Recipes : Gooseberry jam.


Gooseberry Chutney recipe

(nice and spicy!)




3 lbs of gooseberries.
1 lb of sugar.
½ lb of onions. (red onions are perfect here)
1 pint of vinegar (cider)
½ pint of water.
½ oz of salt.
1 tablespoon of ground ginger.
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.



Top and tail the gooseberries, and chop roughly.

Finely chop the onions; then cook with the berries in the water until they are softened well.

Add the remaining ingredients, then simmer until the chutney becomes thick, stirring occasionally.

Bottle while still hot, and cover immediately.

I had 1/2 a jar left over and although advised to store for one month, it is fabulous spread on cold cuts of meat already!

and with the second batch I used white wine vinegar, instead of cider, and brown sugar.

via Gooseberry Chutney recipe – Gooseberry Recipes.



Gooseberry and Almond Cake

Serves eight


75g (2¾oz) ground almonds (preferably freshly ground)

¾ tsp baking powder

350g (12oz) dessert gooseberries (red or green) topped and tailed

35g (1¼oz) flaked almonds

icing sugar for dusting

crème fraîche or whipped cream, to serve



Beat the butter and 125g (4½oz) of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of the flour. Fold in the rest of the flour, plus the ground almonds and baking powder, using a large metal spoon, and scrape into a buttered 20cm (8in) spring-form cake tin. Toss the gooseberries with the 5 tbsp caster sugar and spread them over the top of the cake. Put in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the almonds and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then carefully remove the ring and the base. Dust with icing sugar before serving with crème fraîche or whipped cream.

via Gooseberry and almond cake – Telegraph.


Gooseberry sauce



  • 4 whole mackerel. cleaned and filleted
  •  lemon juice to taste
  • 15 grams Butter
  • 226 grams Gooseberries. topped and tailed
  • 1 medium egg beaten


  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the gooseberries. Cover tightly and cook over a low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the gooseberries are tender.
  • Meanwhile, sprinkle the cavity of each fish with the lemon juice. Make two or three slashes in the skin on each side of the fish, and then grill for 15-20 minutes, depending on size, turning once, until tender.
  • Purée the gooseberries and sieve to remove the pips.
  • Pour the purée into a clean pan, beat in the egg, then reheat gently, stirring. Place the mackerel on warmed serving plates and spoon the sauce beside the fish.
  • Serve and Enjoy!

This I have partially prepared and put in the freezer, I plan to take it with me to Brittany to enjoy with some local Mackerel!

via Baked Mackerel with Gooseberry Sauce recipe | MyDish.



11 Responses to “Do not Crumble! 5 other things to do with Gooseberries…..”
  1. Yvette says:

    All looks delicious and a lot of hard exhausting work! I like a little spicy chutney, and wouldn’t be able to say no to a piece of that Gooseberry & Almond Cake.Yummy ,Yummy, Yummy lots of love in my tummy!Y x

    • thanks Yvette! We finally ate the gooseberry and almond cake (as I froze it) and yes it was totally yummy, especially warm with vanilla ice cream!
      the chutney is delish with cheese……. give it a go sometime. take care Lizzi x

  2. Brilliant just what I like to see wonderful recipes about really good produce and written with such style and passion, what more could we ask for?

  3. I bet the chutney is to die for!
    Fair effort getting all that done. 🙂
    I’m impressed.

    • The chutney is fab with our local conte cheese here in France, reckon the one jar I brought with me to the Beach House won’t last much longer. Well worth the effort of preparing it! Thanks for passing by Laura!

  4. nyparrot says:

    I miss the taste of gooseberries as here in America you can’t find them anywhere. Back in Russia as a child I loved picking up gooseberries right from the branches and eating them right then and there…

    • I’m amazed that it is impossible to find gooseberries in the US and Australia (one Aussie pal also misses them like mad!). Here it is very difficult to find them unless you go to the local markets, and then they are expensive, which is why I prefer to grow them myself. May’be you could find a bootleg bush somewhere and start up an allotment somewhere (or plant one on the highline?). Good luck, if all else fails I’ll have to send you a jar!

      • nyparrot says:

        Thanks, you are so kind!:) I substitute Gooseberries with Kiwi – it taste kind of like, and looks like a giant Gooseberry… lol

  5. Laura R says:

    I am making the gooseberry/rhubarb jam today. The chipmunks have always stripped the bush clean before we got any berries, but THIS year, I have more than I can process!!! looking forward to the result of this recipe. Thank you for sharing!!

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