Monday, July 18, 2011

A Tart and Tangy Tedious Task

On Saturday I managed to convince my very own Jeremy to go gooseberry picking with me. If you've never picked gooseberries, you might be under the impression it's a simple and relaxing endeavor. However, if you have I'm sure you're no huge fan of the overwhelming evil thorns that guard the jewel-like translucent berries. Where blackberry canes prickle at you in a sort of offensive "I'm gonna get you" way, but gooseberries are sly coming at you from below and gripping as if their lives depend on it. They seem to slap your hand away from their almost phosphorescent fruits. Despite these defenses, we managed to pick 5 pounds of gooseberries and we escaped with our lives. My arms, however, are covered in war wounds (whereas Jeremy's are not) because I tend to dive in any time I see a good lookin' berry, regardless of it's defenses. Ouch! Jeremy's the more tactical, careful type.

Thus, most of yesterday and this morning were spent tediously plucking stems and blossoms from each and every gooseberry (this is called "tailing"). Every time I work with gooseberries I regret it as soon as I start tailing them.

Then, almost as if by magic, as soon as I begin baking or canning with them my regret turns to utter appreciation as I smell their unique almost citrusy-bright juices. They may be the most tedious berry I've ever worked with, but it's totally worth it. Yum.
Are there any fruits that drive you bonkers to work with? Is it worth it in the end?


  1. I've heard that agarita berries are thorny and tedious to pick but that it makes excellent jam. It's got spiky leaves like a holly and tiny tiny red berries. We don't have any in our area, but we have some family that tries to harvest at least a few each year for jelly.

    City Roots, Country Life

  2. i love gooseberries. i would have eaten them all raw. i had some bushes but they died after a few years. they sure are hard to pick! here is my awful friut story:

    i cut my peach tree down this year!

  3. I've never had nor seen gooseberries before, and you've totally got me dying to try some now!