Looking rather like veined, slightly hairy grapes, gooseberries have a fragrant, tart flavour. If very young, they can be eaten raw in small quantities, but are best cooked with a tablespoon or so of water and a little sugar to counteract the tartness.
British gooseberries have a short season whose length depends on sunny weather; they’re usually at their best in June, just before the strawberry season, but can be available anytime from May to August. Red or yellow dessert gooseberries may also be available later in the season; they are generally sweeter and can be eaten raw.
Firm, taut-skinned berries are best for cooking. If you are eating them raw, choose riper sweeter fruit that yield to the touch.
Gooseberries should be topped and tailed; snip off the tip and flower end, place in a pan with very little water and cook until softened, adding sugar to taste. Then use for crumbles, fools or ice creams. Cook with an elderflower head or elderflower cordial to give a complementary fragrance. Gooseberry sauce makes a tasty accompaniment to fatty meats such as goose or pork recipes. Try adding them in to a delicious gooseberry and yogurt cake.
Keep gooseberries in the fridge for up to 1 week or cook and freeze.