}

…and All That Jam

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Rouge your knees and roll your stockings down, it’s time for some jamming, Chicago-style!

...and All That Jam - a gooseberry jam recipe inspired by the musical Chicago!

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Come on Babe, why don’t we paint the town,
And all that jam!

Chicago is now considered to be one of the great Kander and Ebb musicals but it was only moderately successful when it first opened in 1975. In the nineties, the scantily-clad Fosse-inspired Broadway revival (and West End transfer) made Chicago a massive hit, with the frequent rotation of celebrity cast-members helping to maintain the show’s longevity. A star-studded movie inevitably followed which, improbably, won the Best Picture Academy Award in 2002. The Broadway production is still running to this day and the West End revival has been recently, erm, revived for its 21st anniversary starring Cuba Gooding Jr (since replaced by Martin Kemp) as Billy Flynn.

Slick your hair and wear your buckle shoes,
And all that jam!

I was a big fan of Chicago before it became a big thing thanks to my first ever university production in 1994*. I played the starring role (to my mind) of Chuck The Photographer, a side-kick to Mary Sunshine. Despite earning me the prestigious Ham Of The Show award that season, the part of Chuck has, sadly, never been featured in any other production, so this was the definitive interpretation of that role (I am still working on a retelling from Chuck’s point of view: Chuck-ago!). It was a hugely lavish production that nearly bankrupted the Student Union as, being a few years ahead of its time, no-one came to see it.

* This predates fellow editors Georgina and Keith’s involvement in that group (Ahem… actually I think you’ll find that Georgina was involved with that society in both 1985 and 1990… Just to be a pedant… Ed). {Sigh} Thanks, p-Ed-ant!

Oh, you’re gonna see your sheba shimmy-shake,
And all that jam!

We’ve featured a number of Chicago-inspired recipes before… (and you can find them all here!) but it’s been a while since we did a new one. I have a great fondness for the opening number, All That Jazz, sung by one of the merry murderesses, Velma Kelly – and here is my tribute to one of the all-time-great musical theatre numbers through the medium of fruit preserves.

Our regular reader(s) will be thrilled to know that this is yet another gooseberry recipe following on from Anything Goes-berry and The Fool Monty. Gooseberries don’t need any added pectin for the jam to set, so it is a very straightforward recipe (that I have been making since my teens… yes, I really am that much of a nerd).

You need the same quantities of sugar as fruit; jam or preserving sugars are the thing to look for as they dissolve more easily. The water is just there to help start the fruit cook down and, as the gooseberries release a lot of juice, you don’t need much. Don’t forget to sterilise the jars and lids; I used my steam oven (Here he goes… Ed) for this but heating the jars at 120C for 20 mins and boiling the lids is just as good.

Put a couple of saucers or plates in the freezer to cool down. Add the topped-and-tailed gooseberries to a large pan with the water and bring to the boil. As the fruit cooks and softens, squash the gooseberries to release all the juice. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved (until you can’t feel any graininess on the bottom of the pan). Bring the pan up to the boil for 10 minutes, stirring continuously so it doesn’t catch. Remove any white scum.

At this point, you can start testing the jam to see if has reached its setting point – put a teaspoonful of the mixture onto one of the chilled saucers and see if it sets. If it hasn’t, keep reducing the jam for a few more minutes and repeat the test. Once the jam is ready, pour it into the sterile jars (a jam funnel can help reduce the mess) and seal the jars (wax discs can help here too but I didn’t bother). You have made jam!

Store it in a cool dark place (right up there, next to where you store the juice) until you’re ready to eat it!

...and All That Jam - a gooseberry jam recipe inspired by the musical Chicago!

…and All That Jam

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg gooseberries, topped and tailed
  • 1.5kg jam sugar
  • 300ml water

Instructions

  1. Put a couple of saucers or plates in the freezer to cool down. Add the gooseberries to a large pan with the water and bring to the boil. As the fruit cooks and softens, squash the gooseberries to release all the juice. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved (until you can’t feel any graininess on the bottom of the pan).
  2. Bring the pan up to the boil for 10 minutes, stirring continuously so it doesn’t catch. Any white scum should be removed. At this point, you can start testing the jam to see if has reached its setting point - put a teaspoonful of the mixture onto one of the chilled saucers and see if it sets. If it hasn’t, keep reducing the jam for a few more minutes and repeat the test.
  3. Once the jam is ready, pour it into the sterile jars (a jam funnel can help reduce the mess) and seal the jars. You have made jam! Store it in a cool dark place until you’re ready to eat it!
  4. Makes 6 jars

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