One of the pleasures I get from teaching preserves is the chance to revisit favourite recipes and experiment with new flavour combinations. Gooseberries are one of the first fruits to appear in my garden and this year I was tempted to recipe test gooseberry jellies for an upcoming course at Vale House Cookery School.
With an abundance of elderflowers in fields, hedges and the garden I thought about adding them to a jelly. The flavour combination works well in jam, so why not in jelly? Researching recipes, I found a plethora of methods for adding elderflower to gooseberry jelly. Regardless of the method, the heady aroma of the elderflower as the jelly cooks and whilst potted is intense.
As a competition judge I occasionally taste jellies with mint. Apple and mint jellies, sometimes with vinegar added to make them piquant are popular with some preservers. Nevertheless Gooseberry and mint is not particularly common on the show bench and is one I have not made before.
Sweet spearmint, delicate applemint and fresh, aromatic peppermint could all be added to jellies, but I guessed peppermint would be the best for a gooseberry jelly. After a couple of attempts I made one of the best flavoured jellies I can recall and wondered why it had taken me so long to get around to making it and it looks great in the jar. This recipe is firmly in my repertoire.
Gooseberry Jelly recipe
For Gooseberry and Peppermint Jelly
1.4kg firm, green gooseberries
Bunch fresh peppermint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh peppermint
1) Wash the fruit and place in a large pan. Add the bunch of mint. Pour over the water, bring the pan to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer until the fruit is pulpy. Mash the mixture thoroughly. Remove the bunch mint.
2) Pour the contents of the pan into a jelly bag, suspended over a large bowl and leave it to drip overnight.
3) Measure the liquid, pour into a pan and weigh out 450g sugar for each 575ml of liquid. Warm the sugar in a pre-heated over 120C for 20 minutes.
4) Dissolve the sugar in the pan, then boil to setting point.
5) Remove any scum and stir in the chopped mint. Leave the jelly to stand for at least 5 minutes.
6) Pour into small, warm clean jars. Seal with new screw top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed to set.