Dear Readers, in my last blog, I told you about planting gooseberry bushes. Now I want to tell you about the ups and downs of using gooseberries, and how I landed on the upside in case you might want to add them to your nursery catalog order.
Remember that it was my tasting a gooseberry crisp that started it all, so my goal was getting enough gooseberries to make one. The first "down" was the first year when something ate off the berries. The next down came the second year after protecting the bushes. I was able to harvest enough for my crisp, but it was tedious work since gooseberries have both a stem and a tail. Cleaning two or three cups for a crisp was time consuming, and not in my plans for a happy farm life. It just wasn't worth it, and I was disappointed.
The third year, the bushes were quite large and loaded with berries. Loaded! What on earth was I going to do with all those gooseberries? As usual, the world wide web saved the day, or berries, you might say. The answer was gooseberry jelly. You don't need to take off the stem or tail, and it has a unique and tantalizing flavor. So, I happily landed on the “up" side, and can honestly say that I highly recommend adding gooseberries to your garden. Now, to tell you how easy it is to make this scrumptious jelly!
Although the bushes have thorns, you simply lift up a branch with one hand and grab handfuls off with the other.
Rinse the berries, and heat them in a pot until they start to release their juices. I chose to smash them a little.
Place the hot berries in a jelly bag and let drip. Sometimes towards the end, I give the bag a little squeeze. Those nasty stems and tails I was telling you about will stay in the jelly bag. Now how simple is that?!
I read several recipes on the web on how to make and process the jelly, but preferred the “Julie Stops By Nana Murphy’s House” short video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCAVAG_POO8
For some reason green gooseberries turn into a lovely rose colored jelly. How curious!
A bonus is that you do not need to use expensive pectin as the berries themselves contain it; especially the green ones. However, my jelly is slightly runny. I could have added pectin to the following batches, but didn’t. As the jelly sits on the shelf, it does solidify more, but we just call it syrup. Larry loves it on French toast, pancakes and vanilla ice cream. In fact, he talked me into picking and processing all the gooseberries. When I asked him what we were going to do with all of that jelly, he said that we could give it away. So, if you invite me over, I’ll probably bring you a jar!
Now, be sure to add gooseberry bushes to your catalog order list!