The Gooseberry

The classic British gooseberry, green, hairy and the butt of jokes, not to mention eating them raw gives you a tummy ache. Not the most promising of introductions for a fruit but show them a little love and they will reward you for it.

Gooseberries are from the same family as currents, to someone who has also had a tummy ache from eating too many red IMG_2365currents this doesn’t come as a surprise. The most commonly seen variety of gooseberry are the green hairy ones pictured below, these should really be cooked or their acidic insides will not do any favours to your insides. There are varieties of red and yellow gooseberry which can be eaten raw, but we wont be dealing with anything so fancy here today.

I struggle with anything that is overly sweet so I like the tartness gooseberries bring to dishes rather like rhubarb. This tartness can lend itself to both sweet and savoury combinations and my head is brimming with half formed ideas of how to use them beyond the traditional crumble.

It has been a roasting hot week in London with temperatures reaching 36 degrees! So for now I thought we deserved something refreshing to cool us down.

Gooseberry and elderflower sorbet.

I used an ice-cream maker for my sorbet, it is a basic model costing only £25 and in my opinion worth the investment. If frozen treats don’t feature large in your life the break-up-with-a-fork method will work pretty well too.

My recipe makes an intensely flavoured, deeply fruity sorbet. If you fancied something lighter, make in the same way but double the amount of sugar syrup you make (1/2 cup more sugar and another cup of water).

  • Around 450g of Gooseberries
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp of undiluted elderflower cordial.
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup of water

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Rinse your gooseberries and remove any particularly scruffy bits (you could top and tail them but this feels a little unnecessary).

Spread your gooseberries in an oven dish and sprinkle with 2tbsp of sugar and bake in a medium oven for 25 minutes

Add your gooseberries and the juices they have produced in the pan to a food processor and blend until really smooth.

Add the cordial, remaining sugar and the water to a small frying pan and gently heat just until the sugar dissolves.

Combine the gooseberry mixture with the sugar syrup.

If using an ice-cream maker: Chill the mixture thoroughly (over night if possible) then freeze according to your machines instructions.

If not using an ice-cream maker: Pour the mixture into a Tupperware dish (it needs to be no more than ¾ full) and every hour or so, or whenever you remember give the sorbet a really good stir with a fork to break up the ice crystals forming. The more often you break them up the smoother the final result will be.

The sorbet will keep for about a month in the freezer.

 Some alternate suggestions for gooseberries:

  • Gooseberry cake/crumble/pie
  • The classic gooseberry fool (Delia suggests making with Greek yoghurt rather than cream).
  • Gooseberry chutney – delicious with cheeses and fatty meats.
  • I have notions of some kind of gooseberry salsa to accompany oily fish but I am still working on this one.
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