Seasonal eating: Celebrate home-grown gooseberries

Photo by Shaina Bostin of Mr Pickles' Yorkshire Food Emporium
Photo by Shaina Bostin of Mr Pickles' Yorkshire Food Emporium

As a Yorkshire food and drink emporium, it will come as no surprise that Yorkshire Day is a very special day for us at Mr Pickles’.

Every year we celebrate with a selection of Yorkshire food and drink and this year we’re inviting customers to our meet the producer day on Saturday July 29. With producers in store from 11am to 4pm it’s promising to be a very tasty day. Joining us from Sheffield we have Frazer’s Coffee Roasters, The Depot Bakery, Abbeydale Brewery and Zig Zag Coffee Co, with many more coming from further afield to ensure there’s something new for everyone to try.

Unsurprisingly we’re not the only ones celebrating this special day with food, and one event that recently caught our eye was the gooseberry show taking place in Egton Bridge, near Whitby.

The Old Gooseberry Society have been holding shows since 1800 and they use apothecary scale which weighs in drams and grains to find the heaviest gooseberry. This year the show falls on Yorkshire Day itself; August 1.

Back in Sheffield we prefer to use our tastebuds to judge our champion gooseberry grower and, for us, first prize has to go to Huw Evans, founder of Sheffield Organic Growers. With four growers and a 12-acre site, the group supply us with a great selection of fresh, organic and seasonal produce including, of course, gooseberries.

When it comes to cooking the gooseberry, jam or jelly will be the obvious choice for many home cooks. With a high pectin content it sets really well and the fruit is often added to other jams, such as strawberry or raspberry, to help them set.

Gooseberries are thought too tart to serve raw, especially when picked young. Yet it is this quality that makes them a superb option for serving with fatty meat such as pork or duck; or oily fish including mackerel. And, so good is this latter pairing that the literal translation of the French phrase for gooseberry is mackerel berry.

Having said that Pam Corbin, writing in River Cottage’s A-Z, suggests slicing gooseberries raw, tossing in a little sugar, cider vinegar and mint for an interesting accompaniment to feta and young, creamy cheese. Something that we’re keen to try with a chilled white wine one summer evening.

For a great selection of Sheffield Organic Growers’ fruit including berries and currants, why not pop into our Abbeydale Road Store? We’d love it if you could make it for our Yorkshire Day celebrations too.