Friday, 31 July 2015

Red Gooseberry Crumble

Our little gooseberry bush which produces red berries has never fared as well as the green gooseberry bush. It was damaged by a falling branch a few years ago, and also grows in a shadier part of the garden, overshadowed by what has become a hazelnut grove in my neighbour's garden. This year I gathered just over 400g of gooseberries from the red bush, compared with 2.6kg of green gooseberries.
net cage to protect ripening green gooseberries

I learned early on in my gooseberry growing experience that the only way to be sure of harvesting fruit is to build a net cage around the bushes as soon as the fruit gets to a reasonable size; the first year I waited until I thought the majority of berries were perfectly ripe and decided to pick the next day. Unfortunately the local blackbirds (I assume, as they are notorious fruit eaters) also recognised the ripeness of the fruit and stripped the bush in the early morning, before I was even out of bed. I didn't lose a lot that year, as both bushes were small, but since then I protect them with netting before the end of June, and expect to harvest any time after the middle of July.

netting removed to show framework of  a cage
I decided to use the red gooseberries first, as there were just enough to make a fruit crumble. The green gooseberries were frozen in handy sized portions, to be used at a future date. Gooseberries are a fruit which keeps in the freezer really well, and despite preferring to eat seasonally, it's nice to be able to have a gooseberry pie or crumble in the middle of winter!

I made my crumble from 100g each of butter, caster sugar, plain flour and rolled oats, and also added 50g of chopped toasted hazelnuts, as I liked the combination of gooseberries and hazelnuts together in this dessert. I mixed the gooseberries with 70g sugar, 2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial and two teaspoons of ground rice to thicken the juices produced.

A recipe for gooseberry crumble isn't something I'd usually bother to write about, but the red berries produced such a glorious colour that I couldn't resist taking a photograph. I think the berries were a little riper than usual this year - they were certainly darker in colour than photos from previous years, and had more natural sweetness while still retaining the characteristic tartness of gooseberries.

1 comment:

Snowy said...

Gooseberry crumble is my favourite dessert. Like the combination of topping ingredients, especially the chopped hazelnuts. Looks delicious, and such a lovely colour.