These are traditionally Whitsun fruit , though it’s always touch and go whether they will actually be in the shops in time. Early imports from France (where, strangely, there isn’t a specific word for gooseberries) and Poland can help extend the season, but home-grown fruits tend to arrive mid-June and last until August.
There are countless varieties in this country, mainly as a result of our passion for local gooseberry competitions in the 19th century, but buyers can discover all they need to know just by looking at the fruit.Early gooseberries – hard, small and very green – have the best flavour for cooking.
Varieties such as Whinham’s Industry and Careless come into this category, though as they ripen and sweeten the former turns positively red and the latter a milky white.
For a dessert fruit, try the larger, yellowy-green Leveller later in the season. If not fully ripe, gooseberries can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to three weeks. For freezing, slightly under-ripe gooseberries are preferable.
When Delia has an overload of gooseberries here's how she uses them up
A marriage made in heaven, gooseberries and elderflowers complement each other perfectly - an example of nature at its best, as both ingredients are in season at the same time! These jellies are a refreshing summer pud.
What a wonderful way to use up excess gooseberries! This recipe combines creaminess and a fruity compote to mouthwatering effect.
Blackcurrants, raspberries or redcurrants can be used instead of gooseberries, but either way we just know you'll love this grown-up, prepare-ahead version of rice pudding!
This has to be one of the easiest fruit tarts to make in the world. The filling is essentially gooseberries and custard set in a pastry crust. I have found that a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar somehow really gives an added flavour dimension...
This American idea for making a pie is blissfully easy – no baking tins and no lids to be cut, fitted and fluted. It looks very attractive because you can see the fruit inside and, because there is less pastry, it's a little easier on the waistline.
What’s good about changing seasons is looking forward to gooseberries, which only come once a year. They can of course be frozen but they’re never quite as good, so once a year make these glorious and very special muffins.
This is a classic English version of a fruit cobbler, but speeded up with the aid of a food processor – which makes it one of the fastest baked fruit desserts imaginable.