Get creative with all manner of gooseberry dishes from chutneys to drinks.
The gooseberry is a funny thing. Often hairy and a little tart, it has fallen out of favour in recent years, as homely 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.
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 through an ice cream maker, like any sorbet mix.
Try our... Gooseberry, elderflower & Sauvignon sorbet
Try our... Gooseberry flapjack crumble
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.
Try our.. Patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie
Savoury sauces and salads
Gooseberries are not just great for dessert; they work equally well as part of a savoury main meal too. 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.
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.
Try our... Gooseberry & vanilla jam
Gooseberry cordial is a lovely daytime drink but give it an evening outing by switching the cordial for alcoholic fizz. Try adding the compote to Prosecco with ginger, straining then adding sugar to taste.
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 feistier 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, and give to a gentle squeeze.
These are our serving suggestions but the fun comes as you experiment and create. Let us know your top tips for cooking gooseberries and the best way to serve this under-appreciated fruit.