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Gooseberry Jam

June 16, 2009

Now that the soft fruit season is underway here in the UK, I thought it was time for a spot of jam-making….


Gooseberries are great for jam as they’re naturally high in pectin. The colour of the jam will vary depending on the ripeness of the gooseberries – early small, hard fruits will give a green jam whilst plump ripe fruits give a pinkish colour. The batch of jam pictured below is quite a dark pink due to the fact that I used unrefined granulated sugar – not for any particular reason, just because that’s what I had in the cupboard. Anyhow, on to the recipe…


Basic Gooseberry Jam Recipe

A quantity of gooseberries

An equal amount of granulated sugar


Top and tail the gooseberries and place in a preserving pan or sturdy saucepan. Pour in enough water so that the gooseberries are not quite covered – if you prefer to measure, I usually use 500ml water for every kilo of gooseberries. Simmer the gooseberries for 10 – 15 minutes until they are soft and squidgy but still hold their shape. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. It helps if you gently warm the sugar in the oven prior to adding to the pan as it will dissolve quicker this way. Once the sugar has dissolved bring to a rolling boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Test for setting point then pour into sterilized jars and seal.

The recipe can be adapted in a number of ways:

You could make strawberry and gooseberry jam by substituting half the gooseberries with strawberries although only add the strawberries to the pan once the gooseberries are almost soft.

To make elderflower and gooseberry jam tie up a few elderflower heads in a muslin square and simmer with the gooseberries. Remove before adding the sugar.

Some people like to add a little butter when they add the sugar.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2009 10:16 pm


    It really makes me want a scone now, but I have to go to bed.

    • June 17, 2009 7:01 am

      oh yes, scones, clotted cream and gooseberry jam – what could be better?!

  2. June 17, 2009 1:52 am

    Interesting. Never had gooseberry jam =)

    • June 17, 2009 7:02 am

      Oh, you should try it – it’s one of my favourites…. 🙂

  3. June 17, 2009 3:06 am

    Awesome. I’m moving to a place covered with gooseberries. I’ve actually never had them before but have heard they are delicious. Thanks for this!

    • June 17, 2009 7:03 am

      Lucky you! I’d love to have gooseberry bushes but we haven’t the room here. One day….

  4. June 17, 2009 10:30 am

    Mmm… looks great! How exciting that jam from green berries turns out pink too!

    I think gooseberries are such interesting looking things with their strange semi translucence and stripey pattern. Kind of like exotic marbles!

    Have you ever seen pink/red gooseberries? They\’re really pretty. I saw some growing in a friend\’s garden and we had them in a pudding. Can\’t remember if they were sweeter or anything though…

    • June 17, 2009 10:45 am

      Thanks Kate – I\’ve seen red gooseberries but never tasted them. A friend of mine grew them and I remember that she used to make something alcoholic from them which sounded good to me….

  5. June 17, 2009 7:32 pm

    Gooseberry Jam – yum!! It reminds me of my grandparents.

    We haven’t any this year, but it’s well worth thinking about for next – though I wonder if I can barter some from a neighbouring allotment?!

    Thanks for the recipe,

    Nina x

  6. June 18, 2009 6:56 pm

    … while having felt like a ‘gooseberry’ on a number of occasions, I have never actually tasted the things..

    What are they like?

    • June 18, 2009 7:13 pm

      I know that feeling too but actual gooseberries are yummy – tangy and fruity. My favourite way to eat them is in a gooseberry fool – gooseberry puree folded into double cream – decadent and delicious!

  7. June 21, 2009 5:55 am

    All this talk of gooseberries takes me right back to my childhood when we grew several hundred bushes and sold the fruit. It was my job to pick, weigh and display them. We had a very nice dessert variety as well I remember, they were large, pink and quite soft when they ripened. The first thing I bought to plant in my garden when I moved to Canada in 1973 was 4 pixwell gooseberry bushes. I still have the original bushes but have taken many cuttings over the years and now have over 20 bushes in my own garden. I have given many away to friends.

    I have just finished making my first batch of jam of the season and plan to make more tomorrow as well as some gooseberry jelly. I also use the small green gooseberries when I am making other jams that don’t set as well. It saves buying commercial setting products.

    I enjoyed the mention of gooseberry fool, haven’t had that for years so will have to treat us to some this year, thanks for the memories!

    • June 30, 2009 7:18 am

      How wonderful to have so many gooseberries at your disposal! Adding the gooseberries to fruits low in pectin when jam making is a great idea – I often use apples in the autumn for a similar purpose – gooseberries are a great summer alternative!

    • January 3, 2012 2:35 am

      Hi, could you tell me about taking the cuttings. I must admit I’m no gardener but I have 4 goosberry bushes which have given me 8 kilos of fruit and, as I’m the only one in the area with goosberries (others have blueberries, cherries, loganberries etc) I would like to be able to pass cuttings on but have now idea how to go about it. Any advice would be gratefully received

  8. dorisandjilly permalink
    June 26, 2009 4:03 pm

    You inspired me to do a post of my own on gooseberry jam. I added some ginger for kick. I’ve never heard of adding butter to jam–is this traditional in the UK?

    • June 30, 2009 7:23 am

      I think some recipes suggest adding butter as it’s supposed to stop scum forming on top of the jam. I’ve never tried it though so I can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness!

  9. kurt permalink
    June 30, 2009 3:42 am

    I live in Minnesota and the wild gooseberry’s are going to be ripe in a week or two and will last for about two weeks. I want to make some jam with them while they are still green there seems to be more of them. and the wild raspberry;s are almost ready two. I will be canning jam for everyone in the family this year great gifts

    • Barbara permalink
      July 13, 2009 3:20 am

      I live in Minnesota also, St. Paul. My husband loves gooseberry pie and I can’t find a u pick berry farm that is somewhat close to the Metro area. We have in the past few years found gooseberries at a co-op but not yet this year. Do you know where we can pick our own?

  10. August 30, 2010 10:55 pm

    Thank you for this gooseberry recipe and info. Just finished closing 12 jars of delicious gooseberry jam here in Iceland.

    Picked my late grandmothers gooseberry scrub. She never made gooseberry jam because the berries were sour.

    Regards Ósk

  11. December 30, 2010 11:28 am

    We have just finished making ten jars of gooseberry jam. As it is late December the gooseberries are fully ripe and the jam is red. Next year we will make it in early December with the greener berries. We have also used some for gooseberry and mint jelly

  12. Trisha permalink
    July 18, 2012 4:08 pm

    Hi. Thanks so much for the recipe. I have never made gooseberry jam before and I like the sound of adding elderflowers. I have only used the flowers for making elderflower champagne, so am looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks again!

  13. Trisha permalink
    July 18, 2012 4:12 pm

    Hi again. Just a quesion. Most of the recipes I’ve seen for gooseberry jam say that they should be mashed first. This one says for them to keep their shape. Will they simply ‘squash’ down whilst cooking, or are supposed to remain whole? Thanks for any reply.

    • Trisha permalink
      July 18, 2012 4:16 pm

      Ah, I think I understand. They need to be topped and tailed which I suppose will render them ‘chopped’ and therefore, they will break down as though they had been mashed, I guess.

  14. Trevor A Panther permalink
    August 6, 2012 2:54 pm

    Just made a batch of Gooseberry jam using 1kg of “goosegogs” Fairly ripe ones left over from making 2 litres of “Gooseberry Gin” which I make every year at the end of July ready for Christmas ( I have also made — as usual- a similar quantity of “Red Currant Gin). The gins will be strained and bottled for gifts at Christmas.

    I haven’t made jam before but I am very please with the results and have “jarred” it all in smaller “sample” jars which will be added to my traditional christmas packages.

    Sadly this year, with the inordinately (and historicaly) wet summer, my usual source of vegetables and things for chutneys have been contaminated by flood waters in my friends allotment and he has trashed the lot. I only have a small patch where I grow fruits — bramble fruits , black currants, gooseberries (and a selection of herbs and garlics).
    The earlier loganberries have fared badly and much fruit rotted on the bramble but the later blackberries are looking OK for ripening later this month — if we have a bit more sun and a lot less rain. My 4 black currant bushes produce some 38 berries in all!
    But I have had simply scads of gooseberries! from just 4 bushes ( all the sratches and scars from picking have healed well!)

  15. Bev Knudsvig permalink
    August 10, 2012 4:32 pm

    I live in Washington State and have a gooseberry berries…it is august 10th..the bush is loaded and the berries quite sweet with a bit of tartness….they are soft..i noticed some are turning kinda yellow and almost browninsh…not red…there must be a red variety…would love to have that…as it seems it would make a much prettier jam…well i am going to try my hand at making the jam…not sure about the no pectin thing…hmmm…any suggestions…

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