I didn’t realise that gooseberries came in colours other than green until I started growing them myself – shameful! This reddish variety is called Hinnomaki Red and is one of the four small bushes I have at the moment – I plan to get some more when we’ve created a bit more space in the garden. I read recently that you can grow gooseberries as a cordon, and they will reach about 6 feet high – this sounds very do-able, and would certainly make picking a bit easier.
Gooseberries are so versatile – you can pick slightly underripe ones for jams, pickles & chutneys, and then leave others to ripen on the bush to harvest later on & make amazing tarts, pies, crumbles & cobblers… Gooseberry jam is a wonderful thing, but if you find the topping and tailing of all those berries a bit tedious then try this recipe for gooseberry curd – you don’t have to worry about all that prep. This curd is wonderfully fragrant, and beautiful pinky-green colour & tastes of summer, as far as I am concerned. Delicious on toast, or freshly made scones, or as yummy Victoria sponge filling. I made this with green gooseberries from our ever-wonderful local food delivery people – Northern Harvest – I’m going to use the red ones in a pie for Sunday lunch tomorrow.
Green Gooseberry Curd
This recipe contains eggs that are not completely cooked so should not be given to anyone who needs to avoid raw eggs.
This preserving method is very short-term – the curd will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge. If you don’t think you can eat 4 jars of curd in 3 weeks (you’d be surprised…) then you could: give some away (go on, be nice!); halve the quantities; leave half the curd to cool completely and freeze in a couple of small plastic containers (I have never tried this but have been told it works well).
1 kg green gooseberries
100g butter, cut into pieces
4 eggs, lightly beaten, and sieved to remove all the yucky bits
You will need:
– 4 sterilized jam jars and lids – have these ready to go when the curd is still hot. Remember – don’t put hot curd into cold jars or cold curd into hot jars…
– a double boiler, or a large heatproof bowl that will sit over a simmering pan of water without the bowl coming into contact with the water.
- Put the gooseberries in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and simmer on a low heat and cook until the berries are soft.
- Transfer the gooseberries to a sieve over the bowl you have ready (or the top part of the double boiler) and use a spoon to push the fruit through, leaving the skins and seeds behind.
- Meanwhile bring 3 to 4 inches of water to a very low simmer in the pan. It’s important that the curd is heated very gently – so make sure the water is simmering – NOT boiling. If the mixture gets too hot too quickly your curd will turn into gooseberry flavoured scrambled eggs…
- Put the bowl over the pan of hot water. Add the sugar to the fruit puree – stir until it dissolves.
- Add the butter bit by bit and stir until dissolved.
- Now gradually add the eggs, stirring all the time. Keep stirring very frequently until the curd has thickened – this takes around 25 minutes. It’s a bit hard on the arm and shoulder, but hey, no pain, no gain…
- The curd will not get terribly thick – you will be able to tell it is ready when the trail left in the curd by the spoon is visible for a couple of seconds. Remember the curd will set and become much thicker as it cools.
- Pot the hot curd into the hot sterilized jam jars and cover with lids or cellophane circles.
- Keep the curd in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.