Gooseberries and Currants

I believe this is the very first year Larriland has offered gooseberry picking. And I was there yesterday, at 9am, before the gates even opened, to partake in the inaugural picking. The three small rows were soon packed with ardent pickers, many of them speaking foreign languages and reminiscing about childhoods in European countries where gooseberries are common. Since my mother is British, I have seen and sampled gooseberries and black currants since I was a young child.

I was expecting the gooseberries to be medium-sized, greenish-pink and mildly tart. I was shocked to discover HUGE red berries, the size and color of red Globe grapes. The taste was not sour in the least. This variety is delicious fresh-picked, not in need of sugar or processing. My younger daughter dove right into the bag I brought home, enjoying the juicy sweetness. We will probably eat most of these fresh, although gooseberry jam is not out of the question.

I also picked several pounds of black currants. There were white and red as well, but I am particularly fond of the black. They have a musky, deep, intense flavor which is not very sweet at all. I was considering making preserves, and I still might, but I also googled some recipes for creme de cassis, a yummy sweet liqueur made from black currants. I am going to need an industrial-sized tankard of vodka for the amount of currants I picked (with massive help from two kind friends) but the cheap stuff is fine for this purpose. The ingredients are simply currants, vodka, and sugar. Plus time. The mashed currants will need to steep in the vodka for several months. So patience is another important factor.

If you missed the tart cherry picking earlier in the season, you can stop fretting. Larriland will open later this week with more tart cherries. They also had strawberries and raspberries, beets, and swiss chard, I believe. In my own yard, blueberries are ripening so Larriland will certainly have those ready soon. At this rate, Larriland should allot me my own personal parking space!

The amount of rain we have had this spring has contributed to some absolutely delicious fruit. If you decide to pick some at Larriland, I will probably see you there!