Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Berry Good Year!

All that spring rain we had has led to one of the best years for berries we've seen in a long time! I harvested over 8 pounds of gooseberries a few weeks back and am in the middle of the blueberry harvest now. If we'd taken care of them, the strawberries would have been winners too, but alas, we let the slugs go to town on them. It was a very busy time for me, getting the garden going so I did let them go.
But never mind that! Look what I harvested this week:
 It is the first of two big bowls of blueberries from our eight bushes! A total of four pounds so far and we are not at the peak of the ripe berries yet. Compared to last year when I got none. There weren't many to begin with then, the birds got most and I was remiss about getting out there and picking them. This year I threw some deer netting over the bushes and I believe it has helped keep those pesky cowbirds from making off with so many berries! I'm looking forward to many more pickings. We have six baby blueberry bushes that are too young to produce yet, but hopefully in a few years will add to the yield.
 I forgot to take a picture of all my gooseberries when they were first harvested. Mine tend to be small so it was a real bit of labor cleaning them. They have to have both stems and blossom ends removed and it took hours. I canned six quart jars of them, but one jar didn't seal, so it's in the fridge waiting to be used. Last year I made gooseberry jam which I love, but I don't go through jam very fast and I still have a few jars from then, so I didn't make any this year. Most of my family and friends don't care for it, but my German friend and my mother (also German) love it as much as I do. Guess it's more of a European taste.
 Another really good way to enjoy gooseberries is as a torte. I made it the way my mother always did, with a shortbreadish base known as muerbeteig (I don't know how to make the German umlaut dots on my computer, so I'm spelling it the English way.) You serve it with some nice sweet whipped cream and it is just wonderful! I'll include the recipe in case you'd like to try it. It can be made with fresh gooseberries or canned drained berries.
Gooseberry Torte:

First, make the base. Knead together 1 stick of butter, 1 and 1/4 cups flour, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Pat this evenly on the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
Now cover the entire cake with a single layer of gooseberries. If they are canned, just drain them and use. If fresh, it's a good idea to parboil them a minute or two in sugar water and let them cool in the water. Then drain and put on the cake base. Generously spoon sugar over the berries. This is important because gooseberries are so sour. You need to treat them like rhubarb! Bake the torte at 350 degrees until the crust is nice and brown and the sugar melted. I will put a large cookie sheet under the springform pan in case it wants to leak.
Let cool then serve with plenty of whipped cream! Enjoy! I hope you are all enjoying the berries of the season!


  1. I don't think I have ever tasted gooseberrys. Your are getting some nice blueberries!! Hope mine do better next year. Nancy

    1. Gooseberries are unusual and definitely an acquired taste! We really are blessed with a good blueberry year this year compared with other years!