The gooseberry was a staple in every Grandma’s garden that I knew, I still remember the huge gooseberry bushes we had a the farm. It was the first thing I bought for the farm was two gooseberry bushes, and since then I have taken cuttings and now have a good size row of eight bushes with plans to continue until I most likely have a even dozen soon enough.
I typically take most of my gooseberry’s off the plants while still green for use in jams, jellies and to include in a few different dishes, only a few of the berries are allowed to ripen up to the rich sweet dark red ripe that are used for fresh eating, the green underripe have more value to me then the fresh.
I tend to freeze at least 20 to 30 cups of the berries for future use as required during the winter months, I dry some for use in certain dishes, and the rest is used as a way to make homemade pectin. Given the rising costs of pectin this year, I am guessing that most of my berries (along with my currents) will be heading into pectin making.
Frugal tip for you, apples are not ready to be used for homemade pectin in the spring, as I am sure you know, they are a late fall fruit, but the gooseberry and the red and black currents are ready at the same time as some of your other fresh spring fruits. Gooseberry is very high in pectin and acid levels.
Time Tip: The recipes often call for tipped and tailed and if you have the time to do so, then please feel free to do this, I don’t, I cook my gooseberries, giving them a mash or two as cooking as they soften and break open and then I put them though my ricer or food press, this gives my most of the flesh to go with the juice but leaves the tips and tails behind, its saves alot of time, and I don’t find it effect flavor or taste, it does effect the look, if you want it to look like berries, you will have to take the long way, if you just want the color, flavor, this is the way to go for speed.
This filling is awesome as is, just thicken with corn starch and use as in as many ways as you want, but do try this pie recipe thickened with Tapioca at least once.
Gooseberry Elder Flower Pie
3 c Fresh gooseberries filling
1/2 To 1 cup fresh elder flowers
1 1/4 c Sugar
2 tbsp Tapioca
2 tb Lemon Juice
Pastry for 9″ double crust
Line a 9″ pie tin with pastry and put your fresh elderflowers in, don’t worry if they go a little light brown from bruising when you remove them from the stems, fill with gooseberry mixture. Cover with a round of pastry or with latticed strips of pastry. Bake in 350 F until golden brown and you can see the filling is boiling hot.
Serve Cold with a dollop of whip cream or clotted cream or scoop of icecream if you wish.