When I was in grade school, we visited our grandparents every summer and they grew gooseberries. We picked and ate green gooseberries right off the bushes. They were certainly sour, but that was the attraction. We had contests to see how many we could eat before having to spit them out. We never did get to see them as red berries. They must have ripened in late summer or early fall after we went back home. I don’t hear of gooseberries much anymore, but they’re mentioned in a lot of old cookbooks.
GOOSEBERRY RECIPES FROM OLD COOKBOOKS
NOTE: When a recipe says, “top and tail the gooseberries,” it means to to cut off the hard parts at each end before you prepare it for cooking.
Young green gooseberries stewed, strange to say, require less sugar than ripe gooseberries. It is best to stew the fruit first, and add the sugar afterwards. The amount of sugar varies very much with the quality of the gooseberries.
GREEN GOOSEBERRY TART
Top and tail the gooseberries. Put into a porcelain kettle with enough water to prevent burning, and stew slowly until they break. Take them off, sweeten well, and set aside to cool. When cold, pour into pastry shells and bake with a top crust of puff-paste. Brush all over with beaten egg while hot, set back in the oven to glaze for three minutes. Eat cold.
COMPOTE OF GOOSEBERRIES
Choose a quart of large, sound, ripe, gooseberries. Remove the stems and tops, then throw the berries into boiling water for two minutes. Drain, let them lay three minutes in cold water containing a tablespoonful of vinegar to restore their color, and then drain again until quite dry.
Meantime, make a thick syrup by boiling one pound of sugar with one pint of water, As soon as the syrup has boiled about ten minutes, put in the gooseberries and boil them gently until just tender, about ten minutes. Then pour both fruit and syrup into an earthen or glass dish, cool, and use.
One pint ripe or nearly ripe gooseberries
Six or eight slices stale bread with crusts removed
One cup milk
One-half cup sugar
One tablespoonful butter, melted
Stew the gooseberries ten minutes—very slowly, so as not to break them. Cut your slices of bread to fit your pudding-dish, and toast to a light brown on both sides. Dip each slice, while hot, in milk, and spread with the melted butter. Cover the bottom of the dish with them, put a layer of the gooseberries sprinkled thickly with sugar, more toast, more berries, and so on, until the dish is full. Cover closely and steam in a moderate oven twenty or twenty-five minutes. Turn out upon a hot dish and sift powdered sugar over the top. This is considered a wholesome breakfast dish.
photo credit unripe gooseberries
photo credit ripe gooseberries
~~ Have you ever eaten gooseberries? ~~