Gooseberry…a prickly bush with hard green fruit, very sour to the taste. These green gems were not in my fruit repertoire growing up in Iowa. When I moved to St. Joseph, MO after college, I was introduced to them but not a big fan. When I met my husband, and his Mother (referred to as Gamma), I was quickly educated on the value of the meager gooseberry. They coveted a rare can of gooseberries at the grocery store for a pie or cobbler, toting a few cans back to relatives in North Carolina.
When we bought our home several years ago, we HAD to plant a gooseberry bush. Little did I know how prickly these bushes were, until our first harvest. My arms looked like I had been attacked by a herd of cats. Now it was time to clean the gooseberries. Holy smokes…it took flippin’ forever! Each gooseberry has a stem and a brown beard (my term) that need to be removed from the berry. I LOVED it when Gamma visited during gooseberry season. She was content to sit in the shade and do ‘the dirty work’ of cleaning these little devils. Missin’ you Gamma and not just at Gooseberry time!
2012 gooseberry harvest
I was happy to take it from here and make the gooseberry pie or cobbler, drowning the filling in white sugar to mask the very sour gooseberry flavor. The end result is a very tasty, unique, seasonal dessert. The fresh gooseberry cannot be matched by a can of gooseberries, but will do if you are having tremendous gooseberry cravings.
This year, I decided to tackle the gooseberry harvest alone. My 9-year-old Golden Retriever, Joe, decided to help. His idea of ‘help’ is to guard the berries and then help himself to a gooseberry or two from the harvest. I truly thought one bite of gooseberry would quickly send him off to another part of the yard. I was wrong. Joe LOVES fresh, sour, crunchy, gooseberries. Silly boy!
Joe guards his gooseberries
JOE LOVES gooseberries
For the two quarts of gooseberries needed to make the cobbler, it took over 2 hours of cleaning. Good thing I had a movie to watch! Cleaning is the hard part, but making the cobbler itself is easy, peasy. I split the recipe into two smaller pans so I could share one pan with others and save one pan for family.
Gooseberries…worth the effort…once a year (or so)!
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 quarts Gooseberries
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1. Mix sugar, flour and salt; combine with berries and lemon juice. Pour into a greased 13x9x2″ baking pan; dot with butter.
Gooseberry filling ready for the oven; Step 1
2. Place in a preheated hot oven (400 degrees) about 15 minutes; be sure that mixture is hot and bubbling.
3. In the meantime, mix the topping. Sift together 2 cups flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and slightly beaten egg to dry ingredients. Stir with fork to blend well.
4. Remove hot fruit mixture from oven. Drop topping mixture onto hot berries, making 12 biscuits.
Gooseberry Cobbler ready for final baking
5. Return to hot oven (400 degrees); bake about 20 minutes, or until biscuits are browned. Serve warm with ice cream.
Gooseberry Cobbler hot from the oven