Now according to Wiki and other sources there is a list of plants known as Gooseberry. They fall under the genus RIBES and also include currants… Jeez lets stop there for now and get to know the berrylicious Gooseberry we are familiar with on our farm, the Cape Gooseberry.
The fruit which resembles a small tomato in shape, is commercially cultivated in South Africa mostly in the form of canned fruits and jams and is often exported (oohhh watch this space for future jam pics and recipes). Ranging from bright yellow to orange and shades of red, the fruit is almost sweet when ripe with a bit of a tart flavour. Interesting to know that if left intact inside the papery calyx that encases the fruit, it will have a shelf life at room temperature of 30-40 days!
This is not an easy fellow to grow as it is prone to root rots and viruses, and in South Africa cutworm is not your friend. Powdery mildew is another common problem. Don’t give up just yet. Your gooseberries will flourish in well drained sandy and gravely soil. Although it is a thirsty plant it will not appreciate “wet feet” so a little at a time goes a long way. Currently we are just waiting for our plants to flower, I will post visuals of their growth and development as it occurs.
In the meantime… the holiday season is upon us and blazing South African summer days need a sparkling fruity drink! I do hope you enjoy this refreshing sundowner/anytimer after a busy day in the garden. Happy Gardening!
GOOSEBERRY AND MINT LEMONADE
ALL THE STUFF:
250g castor or granulated sugar
3 Large lemons plus extra to garnish
350g Gooseberries topped & tailed then halved
3 sprigs of mint (about a handful) and extra to garnish
Ice and Sparkling or Soda water to serve.
In a medium to large sized pot/pan, melt the sugar in the water.
Whilst that is happening use a vegetable peeler to pare away a couple of strips of lemon zest and squeeze out about 100ml of juice. Take care not to include pips.
Add the zest, gooseberries and mint to the melted sugar water and simmer for around 5-10 minutes or until the gooseberries are super soft. Mash the berries with a potato masher and leave to cool.
Sieve all the ingredients making sure to get as much of the fruit pulp as you can and leave to cool thoroughly.
To serve use 4tbs of the ‘lemonade base’ and add 100ml sparkling or soda water to a ice filled glass. It is up to you how sweet you prefer your beverage so use the base at your own discretion. ENJOY!