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Gooseberry surprise

Having my morning iced tea at the Three Rivers Co-op and Natural Grocery one day recently, I had the good fortune of meeting Ruth McComb of Fort Wayne, who had just brought in a large, plastic tubful of gooseberries that she thought the co-op might take as a contribution to sell.

Well, that didn’t happen, and she was very disappointed but I couldn’t help but notice the exchange, having had a gooseberry bush on our property when I was a small child. I haven't seen gooseberries for years. My nana made them into pie and made jelly from them when she was alive. But with they were a pain to gather and in later years we left most of them for the birds, using the apples and crabapples we had for similar purposes first.

I offered Mrs. McComb some money for some gooseberries, and they are now in a bag on my counter, waiting to be put into pie. She advised mixing crushed with whole gooseberries and cooking them up with and sugar for a couple of minutes before adding them to the unbaked crust.

I think I can improvise something – either with a crumb topping or maybe meringue.

These things are slightly tart red-ripe and very tart green, but you can mix the two when cooked. Most people don’t eat them raw. Gooseberries have little stems that need to be removed and little hairs as tails on the other end that don’t need trimming. They also have seeds that you can eat with the fruit -- or you can strain the cooked fruit pulp through a sieve. The seeds aren’t as noticeable in ripe fruit.

So I am anticipating something that’s pretty yummy – a real old-fashioned treat.

Journey through gardening season with Rosa Salter Rodriguez (feature writer), Anne Gregory (Web editor and writer), Frank Noonan (copy editor) and Cathie Rowand (photographer)