|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 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.