Gooseberries have been grown in Britain since the time of Henry VIII. One ancient belief is that fairies would shelter from danger in the prickly bushes and gooseberries became known as fayberries. Gooseberry juice was also used as a medicine in the treatment of fevers.
In the North of England gooseberry clubs were popular, with members fiercely competing for the varieties that produced the biggest, best and juiciest fruit of the year.
Gooseberries are grown on small bushes and come in a variety of colours from green, red, yellow and white.
Whilst traditional gooseberry fools and pies are very popular they also make excellent jams, crumbles and delicious wines and can be used as an accompaniment to meat and fish. One best kept secret is the combination of gooseberries and elderflower which when combined has an exquisite flavour especially when made into a purée or sorbet.
- 1.5kg gooseberries
- 750g sugar
- 4 eggs
- 568ml water
- 100g unsalted butter
Wash the gooseberries and place in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil, simmer gently until soft.
Sieve the fruit, then place in the top of a double saucepan or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved and add the butter.
Remove from heat and blend with strained beaten eggs. Turn to heat and whisk continuously until curd coats the back of a spoon. Pot and seal as for jam.