Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weird fruit: Gooseberries

A few weeks back, a woman in my line at the co-op was RAVING about dried gooseberries. She said they were SO wonderful and refreshing and just cleansed your palate and had the best flavor. She tried to give me some that she had just bought, but I said no thanks (money hands + taking a stranger's food + I'm not allowed to eat at my register) and that I'd get my own. I bought about a dozen of them (for about $.75) and tried one. HOLY YOW. First you chew and it's kind of seedy... and sort of chewy... and rather neutral. Then, suddenly, BAM! SOUR! SOURSOURSOUR! Gets you right in the corners of your jaw! SURPRISE! Gooseberry!! It was interesting. I had to have another one just to see if it was always like that. It is.

Fast forward to this week. The co-op has fresh gooseberries, and fresh currents, neither of which I've eaten fresh. I looked them both up online, which told me that gooseberries are only good eaten out of hand (that is, not cooked with heaps of sugar) when they're purpley, and currents taste weird. So... I figured if they had purpley ones, I'd try them, if not, I'd go with currents. Well, they were purpley.

They're a really interesting looking fruit. Grape-sized, with stripes kind of like a mini beach ball. Biting into it, the outside is firm with a grape-like skin, and the inside is soft and seedy, almost like raspberry flesh without the thin skin holding the juice in. The fruit itself is very floral and citrusy, with a tang reminiscent of a lemon or an orange, with a definite berry like flavor. It is very very tart, but not necessarily in an unpleasant way.

Overall, definitely worth trying. I don't think that it is the kind of thing I'm going to snack on like a bowl of cherries or blueberries or grapes, but the flavor is intruiging and pleasant, if you don't mind tart things. I looked it up and you only need one bush to produce fruit, and they produce a lot of fruit, and do well in extreme temperatures and partial shade, so I think I'm going to stick one in the yard next year. I think they'd make fantastic jam.

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