The plants around us. Volum III The plant around us. Volume III. Etwining project - Page 9

Medicinal use Gastronomic use . The fruit is laxative. Stewed unripe gooseberries are used as a spring tonic to cleanse the system. The leaves have been used in the treatment of gravel. Gooseberry jam: First sterilise your jars by washing thoroughly in very hot soapy water. Rinse in very hot water then put on a baking sheet in a 140°C/fan 120°C/gas 1 oven until completely dry. Put the gooseberries, lemon juice and 400ml water in a large wide pan (use a preserving pan if you have one). Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes until the fruit is very soft and pulpy. Put 2 or 3 small saucers in the freezer (these will be used to test the setting later on). If the fruit is allowed to remain on the plant until it is fully ripe and soft it becomes quite sweet and is delicious for eating out of hand. The fruit of the wild species is often less than 1cm in diameter, but named An infusion taken before the monthly periods is said to be a useful tonic for growing girls. The leaves contain tannin and have been used as an astringent to treat dysentery and wounds. Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is often picked when under-ripe and very firm, it has a very tart flavour at this time and is mainly used in making pies, jams etc. Add the sugar and stir over a gentle heat for another 10 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. You don’t want it to boil at this point as the sugar could crystallize. Once you can’t feel or see any grains of sugar bring to the boil and boil hard for 10 minutes, skimming the surface as you go and stirring now and again to stop it catching. The jam will start to turn a pinky red hue as it cooks. Spoon a little jam onto a chilled saucer, leave to cool then run your finger through it. If it’s ready it will wrinkle up. If this doesn’t happen boil for another 5 minutes then keep testing and boiling until it does. Do a final skim on the finished jam then pour into the sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place – the jam will be good for up to 6 months. Keep in the fridge once opened. cultivars have considerably larger fruits up to 3cm in diameter. Leaves- raw. The young and tender leaves can be eaten in salads. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Gooseberry jam