Now summer is here, my attention has turned from garden rhubarb to gooseberries and elderflowers.
Elderflowers are so abundant in woodland around here, and are just fantastic for making enough jam or jelly to last until next year.
Gooseberries are expensive from supermarkets and greengrocers, but they are recognised as being an easy fruit to grow.
One of my favourite jams is the traditional combination of elderflower and gooseberry - it makes an gorgeously floral-scented and flavoursome preserve.
Gooseberries have enough pectin to set the jam even when using cheaper granulated sugar. However, I do like to pay the extra £1 and make sure I get a nice thick set by using jam sugar. It is up to you, of course.
The following recipe will give 3-4 jars.
500g jam sugar
500g gooseberries, washed and de-stalked
3 palm-sized heads of elderflower in full blossom
Put everything into a large pan. I use the gooseberries whole, only halving or quartering particularly large ones, as I like the burst of juicy fruit when spreading the jam onto bread etc. Allow the sugar to dissolve and then let it come to a boil. Let the mixture bubble for 10 minutes. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal. To sterilise I wash them with hot soapy water, rinse and then microwave the jars (not metallic lids) to dry them out (checking every 10-20 or so seconds.)