This weekend has seen the great gooseberry harvest. I planted the bush a couple of years ago and have had virtually no fruit since then. However, this year, for some reason, every branch has been laden with berries, with the weight making the branches arch to the ground.
I'd completely forgotten it was a red gooseberry too so it was a surprise to see the berries change to a lovely rosy hue. There were still quite a few that haven't changed yet but patience is not my strong point and I decided this weekend was the moment!
The thorns on gooseberry bushes are pretty lethal and it doesn't give up its bounty without a fight!
I battled on and picked a very respectable 792g (1.75lbs). But what to do with them? I've been looking at my cookery books and magazines and had come up with a shortlist. One which caught my eye was curd, partly because I've never made curd.
Curds usually seem to be yellow but the pureed fruit gives a clue to what colour the finished product will be.
Chickpea described it as watermelon and, in reality, it's a slightly brighter pink. Though, thankfully, nowhere near a medicinal colour!
I was a bit worried I'd overcooked it but no, it's a perfect light, creamy consistency. And it actually tastes like curd too, creamy but tart - success! There are a few recipes online but I couldn't find this one which is from the June 2005 issue of delicious. magazine. Just in case you'd like to give it a go, I've copied it out below, though I halved the quantities to make sure I had enough berries for another recipe - you can double it back up if you have lots of berries. Now I just need to decide how to use it. What's your favourite way to eat curd?
2 large beaten eggs
50g diced unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
1. Top and tail the gooseberries.
2. Place in a pan with the water and simmer until soft and pulpy.
3. Press through a sieve into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool slightly.
4. Beat in 2 large eggs.
5. Add the butter and sugar.
6. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon or you should be able to leave a trail on top of the mixture.
7. Pour into sterilised jars - this makes 3 small jars. Cover the surface with a waxed disc and cover with either cellophane held on by an elastic band, or the jar lid.
8. It will keep up to 1 month in a dark cupboard or 3 months in the fridge.
In other gardening news, I've been harvesting more radish and purple mangetout. I thought the mangetout would change colour when cooked but, no, they stay this vibrant purple.
I'll be harvesting the first of my yellow courgettes to eat tonight.
And we've also had the first strawberries from the hanging basket I bought for 30 days wild. They won't win any beauty contests but they taste lovely and sweet.
In other news, it was my Mum's 70th birthday this week! Ten of us went out to a restaurant last night to celebrate. That's probably why we're all having a quiet day in today. I've just started reading 'To kill a mockingbird' - shockingly, I've never read it before. With all the publicity around Harper Lee's latest book, it seemed it was about time. I've also been doing my latest jigsaw and some crochet. A domestic weekend then with a bit of excitement thrown in.
Hope you're all well and enjoying your weekend. x