After she let me try some homemade Lemon Blackberry ice cream: "Cheri, would you like some gooseberries?" my violin student's mother asked me last week. She proceeded to tell me that her bush (or was it bushes?) of gooseberries was producing its fruit on a clock of overtime, plus some.
"I'd love some!" was my reply at the end of the lesson. She hands me two gallon-sized bags where one was half full after being stemmed & tailed, and the other half-filled bag needing the tedious hand stemming & tailing. She also put in hand her very own recipe of gooseberry pie, to which I was amazed and grateful since I don't readily pass out my recipes. (This lady is a picture of selflessness!)
In the early spring when I was over at her home for another occasion, she served me a slice of her pie but warned, "If you don't like it, you won't upset me. It's either you love it or you don't; in the similar fashion of a rhubarb pie." I took my first bite, not prepared for the round "pop" of gooseberries in my mouth, but the flavor had that of a sweet tang to it that won me. I could get used to the texture in no time.
Slipping a vintage apron over my clothes, I anxiously "went to town" in preparing the berries for pie. Somehow fixing a gooseberry pie felt oldfashioned and endearing. Following her recipe to a T, I noticed that it didn't come with a crust recipe, but that was easily amended with using my Grandma's recipe that always works; not to mention is the most delicious and perfectly flaky compared to any other pie crust I've ever tasted.
My family thought it was peculiar. Mother-dear said she liked the juice but thought the gooseberries were weird, one of my brothers couldn't decide if it was sweet or tart, some refused to try it, and one of my sisters said it was, "interesting, but in a good way." Thanks, sis.
(Shhh, don't tell anyone that I'm saving a half dozen seeds to plant next year in a new berry patch.)
So, do you like or dislike gooseberries?