I often feel that gooseberries are the poor relations of the summer berries. Hidden behind thorns, thick skinned, hairy with a brown tail, and with a tartness that can make the sides of your mouth meet in the middle. Why would you bother? Perhaps my love of the gooseberry stems from fond memories of childhood foraging (the illicit type which met with draconian punishment of no Why Don’t You? for a week or something) and the thrill of adventure. Childhood reflection often leaves us happier in memory than we probably were at the time.
Now that I spend a large part of my life in the kitchen it’s one thing alone that draws me to them. Not nostalgia, but versatility. Jam, crumble, pickled, frushies, fools, the list of uses for the gooseberry is seemingly endless. This summer I am experimenting with how many ways I can use this humble and very cheap (£1 per pound from my local farm) fruit. First on the list was chutney, this won’t be the last chutney of the summer so look out for more, but I can’t wait for a big chunk of farmhouse cheddar and slice of sourdough to go with the green chilli kick when this has matured.
Gooseberry and Green Chilli Chutney (Makes 1 pot)
One onion finely chopped
125g Granulated sugar
80ml White wine vinegar
2 Green chillies (chopped)
1. Cook the onion, gooseberries and chilli in the water and vinegar with the cinnamon until the gooseberries have softened;
2. Remove the cinnamon and add in the sugar. Stir until dissolved and then cook until thickened, still stirring occasionally;
3. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Keep for around 4 weeks to let the flavours develop before using.