Today’s berry, bubbling in the saucepan: gooseberries
Gooseberries. Finally, we have enough to “do” something with them, after three years of off/on harvests, so I grabbed a bowl yesterday and headed outside. “Do you want to pick the gooseberries with me?” I asked my daughter. “Nah, too prickly. Can I pick the strawberries instead?” Smart child.
I get all misty when I think about gooseberries. A green variety adorned our wedding cake, they and some golden raspberries and some very red currants. The cake probably had no flour in it but was made instead with almond flour, honey, and lots of egg whites. It was a perfect summer cake, perfect for me that is, an avowed cake-hater, especially of the wedding variety.
But today I made four pints of jam. Because I am usually terribly time-crunched and have no patience to tip and tail these things, what I do with little fruits like these is cook them down and run them through the fine sieve on my food mill. The skins and those nasty pointy stems are left behind, and I measure out the resulting juice and pulp and figure out how much sugar and pectin is required to make a small batch of jam. I cook down other seedy fruits the same way: damson plums, cherries and those aronia berries have seeds too small to reach but (in some instances) too vulnerable to the food mill’s crushing turns so they instead go into a chinois that has a pestle to wring the juice from the pulp. It sounds like I might have a crowded kitchen and it is true, I do, but the chinois does come in handy.
I just adore fruit, and fruit jam is one way to preserve all this bounty. I will mention a few other ways in some following posts.