Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Lost Glamour of the Gooseberry

 When we first moved into our home, Cam and I immediately scoped out our little plot. We have always dreamed of having fruit trees so we could step out our back door and pick a an apple, plum, a handful of raspberries or grapes. Knowing that fruit trees take some time to mature, we were disappointed when we found absolutely no kind of fruit anything. It was bare.

We knew we would plant raspberries, grapes, and strawberries so we immediately planted those. But I also knew I wanted something out-of -the-ordinary, unique, to try out and hopefully fall in love with. In my quest for my new 'fruit' I stumbled across an old gardening book that talked about growing Gooseberries. I was intrigued. When I read that they were hardy, easy to grow, grew well in shaded areas (the spot I have gets half-days sun), and produced sweet berries, I was sold!! Cam went to the nursery and came home with Captivator Gooseberry Semithornless. We put it in the ground fertilized, watered, and waited.

The first year, we got two berries! I was so much in fact that as soon as they were big and a transparent green, I snatched them and ran to show Cam. But when I held my hand out and he looked at what it contained, I wasn't met with excitement like I had anticipated; no, his face was flooded with utter disappointment. You see, he bought a RED gooseberry, not green. I picked the only two berries on the bush and they weren't even ripe...OOPS!!

I learned my lesson after that and we babied that bush through the winter, the spring, and clear until it was covered in beautiful green berries. We would check on it three to four times a week, beginning at the end of July, to see if they were ripe. It took a while but our patience was greatly rewarded. That summer, my first picking was this:

The following weeks were met with numerous more trays just like these! So many in fact, that after everything was said-and-done, I had picked over 30 pints of berries off that thing!! We ate them fresh and froze the rest. They are delicious any way!!

I know Gooseberries have gotten a bad rap from some, and rightly so. The green Gooseberries are extremely tart and very much a required taste, so I've heard. Some really love them others absolutely despise them. However, the red Gooseberry is nothing like the green. Instead of being met with an orb or sourness, when the red berry bursts in your mouth, a flavor much like a grape and blueberry engulfs your taste buds. They are refreshing, sweet - but not overly so - crisp, and just....well, wonderful! I love them.

I guess my reasoning for blog is to remind us all to try new things for ourselves. Everyones' tastes and likes are different; we're all individual. If you always play safe and stick to the known, you will miss out on a host of new possibilities and experiences. Obviously, if you know you already hate something, don't wast your time and energy on it. But if you are just taking someones word for it, do a little research for yourself. If it intrigues you, don't hesitate to try it out; if you hate it, you know you won't be trying that again. But if you love it, you can take the opportunity to brag a little about your new and unexpected food/item/experience you've grown/acquired/tried. It's a good feeling. It's also a learning experience we can all benefit from!

Experiment...let me know what you try and how it turns out!!



  1. Thanks for your post. I was wondering if I should plant the Captivator and your blog convinced me!

    1. I'm so glad it gave you encouragement! We are so pleased with ours and I am still enjoying the berries I froze from last summer and those I dried! These dried Captivator gooseberries are divine in scones!
      Once you receive your first harvest, please let me know what you think! I'd love to hear how others enjoy this much-forgotten berry!