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.
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…
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
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
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
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 flapjack crumble
Gooseberry pastries and pies
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.
Savoury gooseberry 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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…
Let us know your top tips for cooking gooseberries and the best way to serve this under-appreciated fruit.