Friday, 30 May 2014

gooseberries

 
It's nearly June and so I think that qualifies as being summer - well early summer anyway and one of the first of the soft fruits to be harvested at this time of year are gooseberries.

I am not sure why, but gooseberries, one of our traditional British fruits, seem to have fallen out of favour, especially with the supermarkets and it is often difficult to find them, except maybe a very small punnet at an exorbitant price.


This is a huge shame as gooseberries are very versatile, making delicious desserts as well as sauces and preserves.
 
 
When we first got our allotment 3 years ago, one of the first things to be planted was a gooseberry bush - variety careless.
But it is true to say that it has struggled somewhat.
In the first two years it was beset by mildew; last year, maybe due to the cold spring, it produced a mere handful of fruits ...
but finally, this year, we were able to pick a delicious bowlful.



 
Just enough,
when lightly cooked, sieved and mixed with equal quantities of vanilla yoghurt and custard, to make a summery gooseberry fool.


 
 
Last autumn, we planted another gooseberry bush, this time Hinnonmaki red  in a different part of the allotment. It already looks strong and healthy and has a few fruits developing. I'm thinking that come the autumn, moving the original gooseberry bush to another place may improve its oulook.
Here's hoping!
 
 
 
 
p.s The lovely Stephanie at Millefeuilles has a maytime giveaway of one of her beautiful hares. The link is here. Do take a peek.
 
 
 


8 comments:

  1. Lucky you picking gooseberries already, I took a quick peek at mine before & they are not quite there yet. They stupidly expensive to buy aren't they, I suppose they must be difficult to pick quickly with all of the spikes.

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  2. I've been offered some gooseberries by a friend who grows them but doesn't like them. This probably marks me out as being a bit stupid, but I'm not sure how to tell if they're ripe... is there a trick to tell if the green fruit are ready to pick?

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    1. Hello Sarah. I'm not sure there is a definitive answer to your question. I'm no expert, but my understanding is that some gooseberries are more suitable for cooking whilst others are sweeter and can be enjoyed raw. I don't think colour is necessarily an indication of ripeness either as some stay green whereas others turn red. I think the best bet is to try one! The ones I picked were too sharp to eat raw but were nice when cooked. I have also read that you can pick some early on for cooking and leave the rest to ripen further.Hope this helps a bit.

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  3. Lovely photos. We have some self seeded gooseberry bushes in our garden which always produce a very healthy crop. I love gooseberry fool, but last year we also made some gooseberry vodka, which was actually a very nice summer drink!

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    1. Ooo! Gooseberry vodka sounds good.

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  4. I love gooseberry fool (which also makes excellent ice cream when frozen) and gooseberry jam. I don't grow them but I have a friend who usually passes a bowlful our way at this time of year.

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  5. My gooseberries have failed this year. I am determined to cook something with gooseberries and elderflowers this summer. I shall have resort to frozen. Your fool looks gorgeous.

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  6. A lovely recipe. Lucky you to have ripe gooseberries so early I'm just waiting for ours.

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