Usually our gooseberry bush produces about a handful of berries so when I went out to harvest this years crop I was wishing and hoping for 500g so that I could make something substantial with them. Surprisingly, I returned back to the kitchen with 1.2kg!
Our gooseberries are definitely the tart cooking kind rather than the ones you can eat straight from the bush. I wanted to do something more than just make gooseberry fool this year (wonderful as it is) and I didn't want to pair them with elderflowers as I prefer to wait for the berries than harvest the flowers - I think there's more nutritional value - as well as taste - to be had from the elderberries.
So that we could enjoy some of these lovely berries straight away while they're at their freshest, I made a coconut gooseberry clafoutis. A new (to me) recipe that I found intriguing as I'd never made a clafoutis based on coconut milk before.
The clafoutis rose three times the size in the oven and then dropped back down slightly on cooling to make a gorgeous (only slightly coconutty) stodgy custardy cake texture that was just sweet enough to be matched with the tart gooseberries.
The recipe I originally wanted to make with my harvest was a gooseberry curd. When I mentioned this intention in conversation in the weeks anticipating their ripeness it seemed to have a nostalgic quality for a lot of people - apparently it was quite a common homemade preserve in days gone by. After I made it, I could see why it had invoked such a response.
If you only make one fruit curd this year, give gooseberry curd a try! I used this very detailed and well written recipe.
The rest of the gooseberries were stewed and then strained overnight before being made into a gooseberry and mint jelly this morning (the recipe is from my most used preserving book but briefly put: measure your strained liquid, add 450g sugar per pint plus the juice of a lemon and a couple of mint sprigs. Heat slowly to dissolve the sugar then bring to a rapid boil for about 20 mins or until setting point is reached).
A perfect recipe to make on a high pollen count day because the mint is so fragrant!
My jelly went a beautiful rosy colour and will be a great accompaniment to rich foods or oily fish.
It feels so good to be preserving again and it's a good excuse not to be outdoors in the (now, too) hot weather.
What's your favourite way to eat gooseberries?