To my greatest delight, I have a mother-in-law who cooks absolutely heavenly things…whether it be a tender roast dinner or a sweet apple tart baked on a plate, she never, ever disappoints.  When I popped in for a chat a few days back, she had a large bowl of freshly picked gooseberries on the table that she was “top and tailing”, i.e. removing the top and bottom stems.  I marvelled over these berries as I’d never experienced this fruit before in America. At first glance they appeared to be larger-than-life green grapes or teeny-tiny watermelons. Let’s just say, I hadn’t a clue about the greatness of gooseberry. (pronounced gooze-berry) up until then.

A few days later, a gorgeous jar of gooseberry jam was offered up and as I excitedly packed it into my bag and trotted back to our house, I contemplated how fast I could bake up a dozen scones and slather one, or perhaps even two, with this delicious new treat. An hour later, I pulled out a piping hot tray and searched for a container of Glenilen clotted cream in the fridge. After a bit of a cooldown, I carefully broke apart one golden scone and began spooning the gooseberry greatness atop followed by a sweep of fluffy clotted cream….what ensued after could only be described as pure bliss.

Gooseberry jam is perfectly tangy and sweet at once. I find most preserves to be either too much of one or the other, but for me, this berry indulgence is above reproach.

Here is Peggy’s tried and true recipe:

Gooseberry Jam

1 lb green gooseberries (topped and tailed)

1 lb Sugar

Simmer gently until the fruit is soft (this may take 30 minutes or longer).

Add the sugar and stir over low heat until dissolved.

Return the jam to the heat, bring to a rattling boil and boil steadily for 10 minutes

To test if the jam is ready, place a spoonful on a plate in the refrigerator and allow it to cool slightly. Drag a spoon across the jam and if it leaves a line the jam is ready.

Put the jam in warm, sterilized jars.

Allow to cool, then cover and place jars into the cupboard.

I hope you will enjoy this special Irish conserve as much as I.

Slan Abhaile,


Photograph by Imen McDonnell. Assisted by Master Geoffrey McDonnell

Tags: , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

31 Responses to “Peggy’s Gooseberry Jam”

  1. 95Verona says:

    Hello admin, i must say you have hi quality articles here.
    Your blog should go viral. You need initial traffic only.
    How to get it? Search for; Mertiso’s tips go viral

  2. Freyda Black says:

    Thanks so much for a simple recipe. I planted gooseberries in my garden some years ago after tasting one fresh at a neighbor’s garden. This year I’ve picked less than a pound off three bushes but with your simple recipe I am going to make this bit into jam. I think the color is from variety and how ripe you let them get. Mine have turned pinkish on the bush when left longer. However, if you let them all go that ripe, the pectin level is lower. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  3. […] blog for some time will know, Peggy lovingly taught me a thing or two about cooking, baking, and preserving. I learned so much from Peggy over the years, but probably most profoundly, she inspired me to […]

  4. Suzie B says:

    Hi Imen would love to see your recipe for Apple Tart but as Helen said when you click Apple Tart the gooseberry jam recipe pops up….could you fix this please, thanks so much x

  5. HELEN says:

    HI IMAN,

  6. fat loss says:

    Hey I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while
    I was looking on Digg for something else, Anyhow I
    am here now and would jst like to say thank you for a treendous post and a
    all round entertaining bpog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through
    it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when
    I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the superb job.

  7. Grace says:

    Lovely, now where did you get your hands on the Glenilen clotted cream? Pray tell…

  8. Alicia says:

    Yum! I’ve often had gooseberry fool but I’ve never had gooseberry jam. Thank you for the recipe.

  9. […] all is forgiven again. Last year, I made a simple gooseberry froyo and the year before I posted “Peggy’s Gooseberry Jam” my mother-in-law’s lovely […]

  10. cheryl says:

    i have made gooseberry jam using surjell this does not call for it, what is the shelf time on your recipe? thank you cheryl

  11. […] preserving skill that would be easy and fun to try in the kitchen. After all, I had made Peggy’s Gooseberry Jam without fail. But, marmalade is a different beast, it takes an extraordinary amount of patience. […]

  12. I’m going to try this recipe today, after picking the gooseberries – I live in West Cork so I’m delighted to find an Irish recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes! ONe question – how long do I need to leave the jam in the cupboard for? I know different types have different standing times. Thank you!

  13. Ann says:

    Imen —-great simple recipe thank you– my husband grows his own gooseberries and says that the red gooseberries are a completely different variety to the green ones hence the difference in the colour of the jams ! I mixed both when using your recipe ! It was so quick cheers—— Ann-(Home Economics Teacher)

    • imen says:

      Ours are green and they turn orange with the sugar……not sure why! Thanks for giving it a try and glad you liked it! xx

  14. Kirsten Spear says:

    Thank you for the recipe! How do you get your jam to turn red? Mine is still very green. I’ve labeled it Made by the Wicked Witch of the Mid West, as I hail from Kansas, and the jam is a witchy green.

  15. Katha says:

    thanks for the recipe! we made some this morning, though we halved the sugar cause we had desert gooseberries. It is DELICIOUS!!!!

    thanks again!

  16. Interesting stuff! I travelled to England this summer and had some afternoon tea with scones , and it was so delicious I decided to try and make my own last weekend. I might have deviated from the norm maybe – I found a tonne of random scone recipes here and made 6 different ones! My friends were so happy when I invited them round for tea and scones. Terrific fun!

  17. Kerry says:

    Yum! I love the look of that. Gooseberries are abundant here. So far I’ve only made crumble, but now I’m inspired to make jam. You can’t beat fresh scones either. Unfortuntately clotted cream doesn’t exist in Denmark, but I heard someone recently drawing comparisons with mascarpone. I’m kind of intrigued by that and might just have to give it a go 🙂

  18. shayma says:

    i am in love with your photos- and the recipe is lovely too, but of course. x shayma

  19. Melinda says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I make jam on occasion, but never gooseberries. In fact, I don’t even know where to find gooseberries where I live or if I even can, but when I get my hands on some, this is the first thing I’m whipping up! Great picture!

  20. TheGlutton says:

    Your pictures are always so enticing, fabulous. Gooseberries remind me of my childhood – almost like rhubarb in their tartness but so delicious.

  21. Aisling says:

    How funny – your gooseberry jam is red, but the one we make is my house is a rather unappetising greenish colour. Either way it tastes delicious but I’ll have to quiz the mammy on the recipe later and see what the difference is!

    • imen says:

      Aisling…I have been meaning to ask her how it becomes red from bright green! I figured it is the sugar content and how long you cook it…will come back to you too! Thanks for your comment!

  22. Krista says:

    Oh I love this, Imen!! Gooseberrys are a childhood bliss for me, never tasted but oft read about in my favorite books. I hope to find some one day. Your scones and jam look so beautiful and comforting. 🙂

  23. Another great recipe Imen. I love that it is so simple and doesn’t require the stress of watching sugar thermometers with anticipation of making an error. Now I need to hunt down some gooseberries in Dublin, my dad would love some of this. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  24. Kristin says:

    Gorgeous photo, Imen!

    • imen says:

      Kristin…thank you (you know that means a lot to me!)…just trying to get up there with your blog quality! x

  25. Tim says:

    greetings, my friend. Ok, now we are going to have to attempt to reproduce your wonderful treat at our midwest home. It’s 2:20 on a Wednesday afternoon as I read this, and I am going to be in scone/gooseberry torment, until I get home. 🙂

    The summer best, to you, and your family. Today, especially, your mother in law..


    • My husband purchased some gooseberry bushes this past spring as I had often mentioned missing gooseberries familiar to me from my homeland of Northern Ireland. When the two little bushes were filled with berries I decided to take them off. They weren’t very ripe but as we had a lot of bluejays around I feared they might get to them before I did. When I gathered them I ended up with about 12.5 ozs. and using your recipe for Peggy’s gooseberry jam I used the same amount of sugar. This gave me one jar which is great for the first year’s yield. However my jam is so thick and is more like toffee than jam. I followed your simple recipe but am wondering what happened. I think the sugar was dissolved enough, but maybe the berries were not ripe enough. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I’m very happy to have discovered your blog/website.

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Leave a Reply

Saveur Sites We Love
Recent Posts