What to do with gooseberries

Get creative with all manner of gooseberry dishes from chutneys to drinks.

Gooseberry meringues with cream

The gooseberry is a funny thing. Often hairy and a little tart, it has fallen out of favour in recent years, as home cooks favour brighter crumble contenders, such as raspberries and blackcurrants. This is a shame. With a little love and imagination, gooseberries can make delicious additions to both sweet and savoury dishes.

Take a look at our gooseberry collection for more sensational seasonal recipe inspiration. 

Getting prepped

Gooseberry drink in glass
Rinse the gooseberries thoroughly in cold water before top and tailing the ends with scissors. Most recipe ideas use gooseberry compote, a mixture of gooseberries and sugar reduced down with a splash of water till soft and pulpy. Gooseberries vary wildly in sweetness, so the ratio really depends on personal taste. Start with two parts gooseberry to one part sugar and adapt to suit your palate.

Once this is done, you can get creative with all manner of dishes from chutneys to drinks. Here are our top recipe tips...

Cordials

Elderflower cordial in glass on tray with flowers
Gooseberries pair well with elderflower. Try adding a spoonful of the compote to elderflower cordial with a little fresh ginger for a refreshing summer drink.

Try our... Gooseberry & mint lemonade

Cakes

Cake with slice cut
Once you've created your compote, try spreading a spoonful along with cream as an alternative filling to Victoria sponge, a delicious topping to party buns or the perfect accompaniment to ginger scones.

Try our... Gooseberry & coconut cake

Sundaes

Gooseberries make a great addition to summer sundaes. Try layering your compote with cream or yogurt and your favourite ice cream, or mix with elderflower for a show-stopping summer fool.

Try our... Gooseberry fool

Sorbets

Sorbet in glass
Create a lovely gooseberry sorbet by mixing gooseberry compote with water or elderflower cordial, then freezing and churning or passing it through an ice cream maker, like any sorbet mix.

Try our... Gooseberry, elderflower & Sauvignon sorbet

Crumbles

Crumble with ice cream in bowl
Fancy desserts have their place, but the humble crumble is hard to beat. Treat the family to a comforting gooseberry cobbler or rustle up a gooseberry traybake, perfect with a cup of tea.

Try our... Gooseberry flapjack crumble

Pastries and pies

Gooseberry pie
Gooseberry pie is an easy way to sign off Sunday lunch, but try getting creative with puff pastry too. Layer up baked pastry sheets with gooseberry compote and custard for a speedy pudding that'll wow the crowds. Our mini goose-bump Bakewell pies are also deliciously crumbly, sweet and simple to make, or try our gooseberry & custard pies for a taste of summer combined with delicate, smooth vanilla custard – an instant win. 

Try our... Patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie

Savoury sauces and salads

Gooseberries aren't just great for desserts – they work equally well as part of a savoury main meal. Pair with mackerel for a Yorkshire classic, or partner with other oily fish, like salmon, alongside seasonal greens. Or try gooseberries combined with Asian flavours like soy, chilli and fish sauce to achieve a hot and sour taste. Try combining grilled mackerel with our easy gooseberry ketchup for your next dinner party. 

Try our... Asian barbecue pork salad with gooseberry dressing

Pavlova

Add a little gooseberry sparkle to meringues with this gooseberry meringue tart recipe, or give a Pavlova a makeover by swapping the strawberries for gooseberry and elderflower cream.

Try our... Mini brown sugar meringues with gooseberry compote & cream

Jam

Jam in jar with spoon
As they have a tantalisingly short season, there are few better ways to use a large crop of gooseberries than in a preserve. Set aside an afternoon in the kitchen, and get creative with additional ingredients (we like vanilla). Don't miss our gooseberry & camomile jam – the sharpness of the fruit is perfectly balanced by the calming floral undertones. 

Try our... Gooseberry & vanilla jam

Cocktails

Gooseberry cocktail in glass
Gooseberry cordial is a lovely daytime drink, and you can give it an evening outing by switching the cordial for alcoholic fizz. Try adding the compote to prosecco with ginger, straining the liquid then adding sugar to taste. Fancy making your own spirits at home? Try our elderflower & gooseberry vodka for a fruity and fragrant infusion. It's delicious served with lemonade or tonic water. 

Try our... Gooseberry & elderflower fizz

Chutneys

Finally, add it to the cheeseboard. Gooseberry compote tastes delicious with Brie and Camembert, and will give goat's cheese an even more feisty kick. 

Still not inspired? Visit our gooseberry recipe collection for more ideas... 


A note on buying gooseberries

Just like dessert and cooking apples, there are dessert and cooking gooseberries, with varying levels of sweetness within.
 

Cooking berries

Try sourcing ‘Invicta’ gooseberries – the very thorny shrubs are loaded with tart, green berries tucked away in the middle of the plant. Other cooking varieties you’re likely to find are ‘Greenfinch’, which boast smooth green fruit, and ‘Careless’, which can be picked for cooking early in the season, as soon as they’re big enough. We’d leave anything smaller than a grape, as they'll involve too much topping and tailing. The younger and greener the berry, the more sugar you’ll need to counter its sharpness. 


Dessert berries

These can be enjoyed raw or cooked, but won’t be completely ripe until July. ‘Hinnonmaki Red’ are plump and sweet with a ruby-red glow. ‘Hinnonmaki Yellow’ are the same, but golden. ‘Pax’ and ‘Whinham’s Industry’ are blushing in a field near you. Go for berries that look swollen and juicy – there should be a bit of give if you squeeze them gently.

Enjoyed these recipes? Try our other summer showstoppers...

Our ultimate summer recipe collection
Summer drinks you need to try
8 summer slow cooker recipes

Let us know your top tips for cooking gooseberries and the best way to serve this under-appreciated fruit.

Comments, questions and tips

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margo54
3rd Jan, 2017
I find it hard to get gooseberries locally but even in some supermarkets they were completely sold out at Christmas,but after I managed to get a tin and mushed it up and mixed it with raspberry dairy free ice cream and it was delicious.
MashedCeleriac
25th Jul, 2015
Gooseberries DO NOT HAVE A HUSK! Who wrote this rubbish? The recipes are nice though.
cornermead21
30th May, 2016
Can I use frozen gooseberries to make chutney?
sue--l
1st Jul, 2014
What part of the gooseberry is the husk that needs removing? I only top and tail the gooseberries I grow, I've no idea what the husk is.
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goodfoodteam
16th Jul, 2014
The husk is the papery outside case, it sounds like the ones you normally use have already had this removed.
MashedCeleriac
26th Jul, 2015
No. Gooseberries have NO husk.
Gemma Rabone
21st Jul, 2014
These particular gooseberries (from the Ribes uva-crispum family) don't have husks, so just topping and tailing is fine. It's the Cape Goosberries (Physalis peruviana) that has the papery husk.
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goodfoodteam
15th Apr, 2016
Hi there, Thanks for bringing this point to our attention. To add to the previous comments and for clarification, the 'physalis' plant, sometimes called 'cape gooseberries' do have a papery casing or husk. These are a different species to the 'ribes uva-crispa' which is pictured in the above guide, which don't have husks to remove. We're sorry for any confusion caused and hope this explanation is clear. Best wishes, BBC Good Food Web Team
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