Gooseberry and elderflower compote

Krusbärskompott smaksatt med fläder

Gooseberry and elderflower compote

Gooseberries are indigenous to northern Europe and thrive in Sweden’s cool climate with damp soil and so have long been popular in Sweden. However, strangely they are not sold that often in supermarkets in Sweden and so Swedes who like gooseberries often have to grown their own.

Gooseberries, with their slightly tart flavour, make make a refreshing change from other summer fruits. They are also rich in vitamins A, B and C so they are good for you too.

Gooseberries are enjoying something of a revival and beginning to make more appearances in supermarkets. If you see any, buy some and make this delicious compote! John Duxbury

Summary

Recipe summary for gooseberry and elderflower compote 

Tips

A dish of gooseberries (Invicta and Xenia)

• I prefer to make this compote with a tart cooking gooseberry such as Invicta, Jubilee or Careless. If you choose a sweeter variety, such as Xenia, you might need to reduce the amount of sugar.
• I prefer a slightly tart compote, so I have suggested using 800 g of sugar per 1000 g of gooseberries, rather than equal weights of sugar and berries which is more usual. Do feel free to increase the amount of sugar if you have a sweet tooth!

A bottle of commercial elderflower cordial

• I use homemade elderflower cordial (syrup), but if you haven't got any you can use a good quality commercial brand instead.

Fresh elderflowers

• Where I live, by the time gooseberries are ready the elderflower season is over, but for a recipe using fresh elderflowers click here.
• The compote is delicious on scones, crumpets and muffins, with våfflor (waffles) or pannkakor (pancakes) or in a flaky pastry layer cake.
• The compote can also be heated gently and served as a sauce with pork or poured over ice cream.
• Don't boil for more than 7 minutes in step 4 without doing a "saucer test", otherwise the compote may end up overcooked.
• For more tips on jam making click here.

Ingredients

1 kg (2¼ lb) green gooseberries
800 g (4 cups) jam sugar*
6 tbsp   elderflower cordial (syrup)
½ tsp   butter, if necessary
½-1 tsp   elderflower essence, if necessary

*There is enough pectin in the gooseberries to use ordinary granulated sugar if you prefer a lighter set.

Method

1. Pick over the gooseberries, removing any bruised berries or leaves. Rinse and then top and tail.

2. Add about 2 mm (⅛") of water to a preserving pan. Tip the washed gooseberries into the pan and add the elderflower cordial (syrup). Gently bring to a simmer, stirring regularly to ensure that the berries don't burn. Simmer gently until the berries are soft, about 10 minutes.

Gooseberries being heated to make a delicious compote

3. Add the sugar, stir well and heat gently again, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes.

4. Increase the heat to maximum and boil rapidly for between 4 minutes (light set) to 7 minutes (firm set). Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

5. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the scum. (If any scum is hard to remove, add a little butter and stir it into the mixture as this will help to dissolve the remaining scum.)

6. Leave the compote cool for 15 minutes then have a taste. If you think it needs a little more elderflower, add some essence, stirring thoroughly after each addition.

7. Finally, pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Using fresh elderflowers

If you leave in an area where elderflowers and gooseberries are ripe together then you can use the method below.

1 kg (2¼ lb) green gooseberries
800 g   jam sugar
10-12   elderflower heads
½ tsp   butter, if necessary

*There is usually enough pectin in the gooseberries to use ordinary granulated sugar for a slightly lighter set.

Method

1. Pick over the elderflowers carefully to ensure that there are no insects lurking in their midst. (If necessary, leave them to soak for a few minutes in water.) Tie them together with a long piece of string, leaving at least 30 cm (1’) free.

2. Pick over the gooseberries, removing any bruised berries or leaves. Rinse and then top and tail.

3. Add about 2 mm of water to a preserving pan. Tip the washed gooseberries into the pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring regularly to ensure that they don’t burn. Boil steadily until the berries burst.

4. Add the sugar and elderflowers, leaving the string hanging over the edge of the pan so that you can fish them out later.  Stir well and heat gently again, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes.

5. Increase the heat to a maximum and boil rapidly for between 4 minutes (light set) and 7 minutes (firm set), stirring occasionally to avoid burning the bottom of the pan.

6. Remove the elderflowers and discard them, then use a spoon to remove the scum.

7. If any scum is hard to remove, add a little butter and stir it into the mixture as this will help to dissolve the remaining scum.

8. Leave to cool for 15 minutes then give one final stir, pour into sterilised jars and seal. 

Downloads

printer copy sb  printer version.pdf

Phone-and-tablet-h32  phone & tablet version.pdf

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