Tuesday, June 23, 2009
This is only the second year for my gooseberries and they are still quite small. However, both plants have a few fruit. This one is Ribes 'Hinnonmaki Red' and although there are too few to make jam or a chutney this year, I think there are enough to make a Gooseberry Fool. (I’ll post the recipe and photos later when I make it.)
Gooseberries basically fall into 2 categories: dessert gooseberries, and cooking gooseberries. Cooking gooseberries are usually shiny-green and quite tart, enough so they make your mouth pucker when eaten raw. Cooking gooseberries with a little honey or sugar releases their delicious, complex flavors.
Dessert gooseberries are usually colored from red to yellow, appearing almost transparent, and sweet enough to eat raw. I did find the skins on my red ones to be rather thick and chewy but the taste is wonderful! (I suspect cooking a bit will make the skins tender.)
Any gooseberries to be cooked should have the stem and blossom end removed; scissors work just fine. (The Brits call this “top and tail”.) Put the berries in a little water and add some honey or sugar to taste. Gently simmer the berries for a few minutes until soft, adjusting sweetness. Now you can use the berries for any pie or other dessert recipe. (Note: For jam, cook the fruit and sugar according to your jam recipe but don’t forget to “top and tail” the berries first.)