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Canning Berries: Memories of Mom

As I canned cherries and gooseberries this summer, I thought of my mother. She had stimulated my interest in canning. We had made and canned thimbleberry jam together. It was a family project to pick and clean the wild berries.

Gooseberries have stems and “pig tales” (the remainder of the flower).


They also have a number of seeds in each berry. I was determined to find an easy way to process the berries, preserving their flavor.

My daughter’s mother-in-law had found a Victoria strainer for me. I have made applesauce using it. When the apples are cooked it will strain out the seeds and skin of the apples. It could do the same for the gooseberries.

Victoria strainer

I washed the gooseberries, not bothering to remove the stems or pig tales. I put them in the crockpot and let them cook for several hours. When they were soft and juicy, I processed them in the Victoria strainer. The berries came out as a smooth and seedless sauce.

The sauce went into a large pot and I added honey and sugar to taste. I let the sauce simmer for ten minutes and then poured it into sterilized jars. I placed the canning lids on and tightened the rings and then gave a quarter turn to loosen. The jars went into a boiling water bath for ten minutes.

The sauce has a rich tartness. It is good on oatmeal and pancakes. It can be combined with apples for apple pie. I will experiment with additional uses.

Mom passed away in 2020. The memories come to mind in random moments, and I pause, grateful for her influence.

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Carol is a follower of Jesus and a wife, mom & grandma. She worked for many years as a childbirth nurse and prenatal educator. She recently retired from clinical work. She has written articles for nursing journals and devotionals. Her novel, Aliisa's Letter, was published in 2010 and she is currently working on another project.

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