Raspberry jam, or gooseberry jam, from fresh or frozen berries

Taking frozen berries for jam displays as sensible a use of the brain as I could imagine. The fruit freezes perfectly, provided you are going to cook it, or use it as a sauce, and with the wonderful microwave, you have a brilliant, shiny jam within an hour – even in the depths of winter, when such things as raspberries are but a dream. Frozen berries are great for sorbets, and terrific for crumbles as well, and give you that lovely sneak preview of summer.

500g frozen raspberries or gooseberries, defrosted or not

Any frozen berries are fine, and of course the same applies to fresh berries. Gooseberries cooked this way make for the most fantastic jam you can imagine.

350g caster sugar (400g for gooseberries)

1/2 washed lemon, sliced very finely


In a large, open bowl, toss the berries with the caster sugar and add the slices of lemon.


Cook on high in the microwave for somewhere around half an hour (depending on the power of your machine), removing in 20 minutes or so to remove any impurities which have risen to the surface. The berries will have thickened, reduced in volume, and darkened in colour. The jam should be the right consistency after about 30 minutes.


Test on a cold plate to ensure it sets. If it hasn’t set, keep cooking. The thing about the microwave is that there is hardly an ounce of danger of the jam burning. It can get too thick, but even that’s no disaster. Just keep watching after about 25 minutes until it sets to the test. When done, pour into sterilised jars. This amount of berries should make about half a litre of jam. Once it’s cool it should be set well enough to hold its own.