Cooking Experiences

The Gooseberry: A humble and undervalued fruit

From my childhood, I have fond memories of enjoying picking ripe gooseberries from a bush in the back of my Mum’s garden. Since then, I have been a fan of the humble gooseberry that so rarely makes its way into the ‘foodie’ scene, where it is seen as a bit of a poor relation in comparison to the likes of blueberries and even blackberries and blackcurrants.

Having recently enjoyed an evening at Crafthouse, which was mainly focused on elderflower but looked into ways to enjoy gooseberries too, I was able to try (for the first time in a while) a gooseberry in a rather more elegant manner as a mousse and I was inspired to find some to enjoy at home!

While I was in Harrogate last weekend I was finally able to find some fresh, tasty looking and ripe gooseberries to buy and enjoy! I had considered making them into jam, having a go at making them into a compote, or even finding a way to use them in a cake, but I decided in the end that the best option was simply to eat them raw!

Yorkshire gooseberries

Yorkshire goodness!

Some of you may have been put off gooseberries by eating them raw and not having them fully ripe. This can be a fairly acidic and bitter way to try them. A good way of avoiding this is to squeeze them gently before eating them and see if they have any give. If you do this and they have a bit of squish, then you will know that they are nice and ready for eating. With some varieties, you will also find they go purple (or more often a dark red). This indicates that they are ready for eating. If you grow your own (a nice option and one that is probably a bit cheaper than buying them), you can also keep an eye out for when the birds start eating them! Normally this is a decent sign they are ripe.

Yorkshire gooseberries

Ripe for eating

For me, the nicest thing about eating a raw gooseberry is of course the fact that it combines a slightly sharp taste with a nice gentle sweetness.

In my opinion it would be lovely to see them on sale in more places. I would love to hear your ideas of great ways to work with gooseberries!

Categories: Cooking Experiences

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