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Gooseberries

(post, Linda Ziedrich)


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Before you eat or cook a gooseberry, you must top and tail it--that is, pull off the stem and the shriveled, dry blossom. These are my first harvest of Hinnomaki, an old Finnish variety. They're not only prettier than my green gooseberries (Oregon Champ, a nineteenth-century variety from Salem, Oregon); they're also sweeter.

Because I'd never done it before, I decided to can the gooseberries in syrup. For a cup of fruit, I used 1/3 cup each sugar and water. That's a heavy syrup, but not as heavy as recommended by the old preserving book I consulted, which also told me to pour some of the syrup into the jar before adding the berries. This is supposed to keep the berries from floating, as apparently is the Extension recommendation to dip the berries in syrup for 30 second and then drain them before putting them in the jar and pouring the syrup over.

After putting the berries in the jar, you pour the syrup over, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, and then process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.

Although I put some of the syrup in the jar before adding the berries, they floated. They're beautiful anyway, though, and they should be delicious next winter, over ice cream, cheesecake, or pound cake.