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A Trip To The Green Market, And My Introduction to Gooseberries

Green Market Haul

Green Market Haul

It has been hot here, I mean really uncomfortably hot and humid and even though I have AC it’s still hard to use the stove. It’s been a few weeks since I have gone to the Farmers Market in my neighborhood, each week I went I was disappointed to find nothing, so I decided to check it out this weekend and I happily found some beautiful produce. There are still no strawberries though, did I miss them?  Every year I see basket after basket of gooseberries and until this year I have never bought them, I really don’t know what to do with them. Same with the red currants, I have had red currant jam, dried currants in Persian rice,  but have not actually bought and made anything with fresh berries. It’s just me and Percy and as you can see from the photo, as my Mom would say my eyes are bigger than my stomach. How can you resist when you see produce this beautiful, it’s impossible for me. I tend to shop with my eyes, if something looks beautiful, even if I don’t know how to use, it will probably end up in my basket.

Weather wise summer is my least favorite season, I am not a person who enjoys being in the sun, I detest being hot and sweaty and braving the heat to go to the Green Market was uncomfortable, but once I saw all of that produce I forgot how hot it was outside, that is until I had to lug it all home. I have 2 tomato plants in the garden that are producing some cherry tomatoes, in dribs and drabs. I keep a container by the door and religously pick a few ripe tomatoes each day. Maybe someday soon I will have enough to make a salad. My zucchini plant never produced anything except for one zucchini blossom that I let sit, thinking it would turn into a zucchini, it didn’t.

the end of the homemade pesto and homeade bread

the end of the homemade pesto and homeade bread ready for salad

My favorite salad is simple, cucumber and tomato, maybe a little onion and grilled bread. After buying the beautiful heirloom tomatoes and the seedless Persian cucumbers I knew that is what I had to make. A few days ago I harvested a huge amount of basil from my garden and made pesto. For this salad, the bread is slathered with pesto and grilled, then broken or cut in bite size pieces and added to the cucumbers and tomatoes. The dressing is simple, olive oil and vinegar. Sometimes I will add some crumbled feta or ricotta salata.  The salad is incredibly flavorful, fresh organic produce and bread that is grilled with pesto make an absolutely delicious and satisfying meal.

I will shamefully admit that I have never eaten or cooked with gooseberries or fresh currants, it’s hard to believe that every year I pass them up at the farmers market without so much as a glance back. This year is different, I grabbed 2 lovely punnets of gooseberries green and purple and some red currants. Now that they are in my hot little hands what to do with them?  They taste pretty sour, I like sour so find it appealing but I don’t think I could sit there and eat them by the handful. Doing an internet search there is really not very many recipes using gooseberries, there is compote, jam and pie and a few savory recipes as sort of a chutney with meat as well as beverages. I love wikipedia, vital information at the touch of a keypad, according to this online source there are a few varieties of gooseberries and they are quite popular in England.  The three varieties noted are the European/North American, Indian and Peruvian Gooseberry. The Indian gooseberry seems to be the most nutritious with the highest vitamin C content. All contain moderate levels of anti oxidents.

This post is too long, because I dislike having too much information in one post, it will be divided into two and the recipes will come later. In closing here are Percy’s thoughts on the summer heat. Wishing everyone a relaxing Sunday!!

I hear ya Percy

I hear ya Percy

 

75 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ugh… I agree with Percy. The humidity is so wearing — even inside. However, I enjoyed this trip to the green market. Thanks for bringing us along. I don’t think I’ve ever met a gooseberry in person. I remember Lord David Prosser leaving them as an “ingredient” in one of my old serials, but I’ve never heard of any dish beyond gooseberry pie. I’m dying of curiosity to learn what you did with them. The picture puts me in mind of muscadines, which grow wild in some parts of the deep south. Lovely post, Suzanne. Mega hugs!

    July 17, 2016
    • Thank you, still working on the gooseberries, getting idea’s. Yes, gooseberries are a totally British thing, fools, crumbles, pies, jams the many uses abound in Britain. I can’t believe I have overlooked them for all these years, well it’s never too late. Thanks so much Teagan.

      July 17, 2016
  2. Great recap of your farmers market visit…yes indeed the Indian gooseberry know as amla is loaded with goodies…great to make jams and preserves with:))

    July 17, 2016
    • It’s funny that the Indian variety, amla are so much more nutritious. They don’t have them in the market here but wonder how they differ in taste. Thanks so much.

      July 17, 2016
      • The Indian Amla are light green in colour and extremely sour in taste…how does that compare to what you get?

        July 17, 2016
  3. Fresh produce looks great… totally understand about your Zucchini plant. Mine is doing exactly that, while the squirrels are eating my tomatoes and blueberries 🙂

    So all I am left with are my herbs!

    July 17, 2016
    • Glad I’m not alone, my next door neighbor also said his zucchini is doing the same. Hmmm… a conspiracy maybe. The squirrels don’t get me going on that, they are terrible here, I wish they would go to the community garden across the street, a much better selection for them and leave my pitiful little tomato plant alone. Thanks so much.

      July 17, 2016
  4. Maria DeBrango Stickel #

    Percy looks better. Yeah🐾

    Sent from my iPhone

    July 17, 2016
    • He’s not loving the heat. We are both looking forward to the fall!!

      July 17, 2016
  5. So colorful. I have never had a gooseberry-sounds like they would be good though. And muscadines-LOVE THEM, we have them here in Texas. They make great jelly.:)

    July 17, 2016
    • I will have to try muscadine jelly. Sounds delicious, thank you so much.

      July 17, 2016
  6. Suzanne, I love gooseberries and red currants. We had many bushes at our farm in Germany. Unfortunately, I can’t get them here in California. My mom used to can gooseberries in a sugar syrup. It made a great dessert later. You can make a compote by cooking the gooseberries for a about 5 minutes, until the skin gets soft. Make sure, you don’t overcook them, because they get mushy. You can use a simple syrup or add some white wine, a vanilla bean and a little fresh ginger. This tastes great with ice-cream. I have a recipe for a simple red current, gooseberry sheet cake. Let me know if you are interested, I will translate it for you. My all time favorite is a gooseberry meringue cake.

    July 17, 2016
    • Wow I would love your recipe is its not too much trouble to translate. Thanks it all sounds wonderful!!

      July 17, 2016
      • German Gooseberry and Red Current Sheet Cake

        Ingredients

        250 g soft butter ( about 8 ounces)
        250 g sugar ( 8 ounces)
        1 ½ tsp vanilla extract, or ½ vanille bean seeds
        6 eggs
        100 g ( 3.5 ounces) whipping cream
        300 g ( 10 ounces) flour
        1 ½ tsp. baking powder
        700 g ( 24 ounces) berries

        raw sugar
        or mix lemon or lime juice with powdered sugar to make a glaze

        Cream the butter and sugar, add one egg at a time. Add cream. Mix the flour with the baking powder and add to the dough in portions. Grease a large high rim cookie sheet and add dough.
        Clean the berries, make sure you remove the stem from the goose berries and the red currents. Gently mix them with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Sprinkle over the dough.
        Bake at 300 degrees (I might up the temperature to 325) for 30 minutes . Test with a tooth pick.
        Sprinkle with raw sugar after the cake comes out of the oven or drizzle a glaze of powdered sugar and lime or lemon juice over the berries.
        I never made this recipe before but I might try it with different berries since I don’t have any goose berries or red currents and cut the recipe in half using a smaller pan. I also would add some lemon zest to the dough.
        Good luck Suzanne and let me know how it turns out.

        July 17, 2016
      • I am not sure about adding the cornstarch. It’s suppose to prevent the cake from getting soggy .

        July 17, 2016
    • Thank you so much, mixing the berries with the cornstarch will keep them from sinking to the bottom, you can also use flour. I can’t wait to try this.

      July 17, 2016
      • I went our Farmers Market and got some berries. I’ll try it tonight.

        July 17, 2016
      • I made the cake tonight using blackberries , raspberries , and blueberries. I halved the recipe but forgot the cream. I used lemon zest and 1½ Tsp of cornstarch . I baked the cake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. It made a light cake that would be great with whip cream or ice cream. It would also make a great breakfast treat.

        July 18, 2016
      • I sprinkeled 2 TBS of raw sugar over the cake before I baked it.

        July 18, 2016
      • I am going to make the cake soon and serve with ice cream. I made a crumble last night to test out the gooseberries and red currants, they give out a lot of juice. Is that going to impact the cake at all? Are the german gooseberries, fresh ones really juicy?

        July 18, 2016
      • Yes, German gooseberries are very juicy. If you make this cake, sprinkle some cornstarch over the berries. I’m thinking of posting the this cake using different berries. I wish I could make it with gooseberries. This cake would be great for breakfast for your guests. In a lot of german recipes the gooseberries are cooked and thickened before baking with them. Good luck Suzanne.

        July 18, 2016
  7. What lovely finds Suzanne! Your salad sounds yummy, especially with grilled bread and pesto. Such great summer flavors. I have never used gooseberries either. Looking forward to your next post!

    July 17, 2016
    • Thank you so much Antonia, I can’t believe I have never tried gooseberries and can’t wait to make something with them.

      July 17, 2016
  8. talkavino #

    Glad you had an opportunity to come across gooseberries and red currant 🙂 I had plenty of both growing up back in Russia – the problem with the local version is that they are always very tart – and the ones I had in my previous life were sweet when ripen. Sorry, can’t help much with the recipe, but I’m sure if you will use them both for some sort of a berry pie, only accounting for their sourness, the pie will come out quite tasty. Cheers!

    July 17, 2016
    • Thanks so much Anatoli, the green are very tart and the purple are sweet so I am thinking I will use the green ones in a savory recipe. I am excited to try my hand at them.

      July 17, 2016
  9. I am drooling over your haul! I still have not been to the farmers market this year but definitely making the trip this coming weekend:)

    July 17, 2016
    • I had made several trips and it was bleak. I waited a few weeks and voila, it was like Christmas. Thanks so much Zeba.

      July 17, 2016
  10. You’re lucky to get fresh gooseberries! I don’t always get nice ones but when I do they usually end up in a jam or chutney. I’m curious about what you’ll prepare from them. 🙂

    July 17, 2016
    • Thanks Ronit, I think I will do 2 recipes with the gooseberries, savory and sweet. Still working out exactly what I will make. they are so interesting, not really something I am familiar with.

      July 17, 2016
  11. I had an heirloom tomato yesterday and was surprised at the wonderful flavor. Close but not quite the tomatoes we remember from the 1950’s. The cucumber salad sounds awesome. Yesterday I made Panzanella and now I can try them with cucumber. Thanks!

    July 17, 2016
    • I love a traditional panzanella but really enjoy cucumbers in the summer so combining everything is wonderful. Thanks so much Debra.

      July 17, 2016
  12. Sorry to hear you’re feeling so uncomfortable, Suzanne. Muggy weather is definitely the worst. You’re right about gooseberries being popular in England, Most often they’re used for puddings like pies, crumbles and baked sponges, as well as some of the things you found on Wiki. All types of currants are popular here, too – red and black in particular. White currants are much rarer. We have bushes of all these in our garden, including gooseberries, so I’m fortunate in not having to buy them. I made a blackcurrant crumble for after our lunch today. Blackcurrants also make good toppings for cheesecakes (in a syrup).
    Like you, I enjoy visiting the market. Such fresh produce can’t be beaten. Hope you manage to keep cool until the autumn weather gets here.

    July 17, 2016
    • How wonderful that you have all those berry bushes in your garden. Wish I grew them. We are experiencing tremendous heat and humidity here, poor little Percy is suffering he really cannot tolerate the heat, actually gets sick. I tried waking up really early 6AM and walking him today but the heat was too intense for him and he has been feeling badly all day, wouldn’t eat until just a few minutes ago. I won’t walk him again today. I think the red currants would be delicious on cheesecake, I don’t have black currants but red I think would be wonderful. Thanks so much Millie.

      July 17, 2016
      • I do feel sorry for Percy. Many animals feel excessive heat so much more than we do. It sounds bad enough for you! Hope some cooler air moves in before long.
        Red currants are lovely. They’re much sweeter than blackcurrants – but I love those, too. People of my generation were brought up on pies and other puddings, and I’m afraid I can’t kick the habit. Many English gardens have fruit trees and bushes of all types. In our village, people grow so much, a lot of it is just given away.
        Keep cool.

        July 18, 2016
  13. How is Percy doing? I can’t wait to see your recipes on gooseberries, I wouldn’t know what to do with them other than jam or a pie…. if I could find them because I don’t think I can here! xx

    July 17, 2016
    • Hi Sofia, poor Percy is not doing well at all. The heat is really hard on him. I don’t know what to do. He doesn’t like using the backyard, you know for his business. He is not the type of dog that will make quick work of it, he like long walks. This morning was too hard on him, we walked slowly for an hour, I bring water for him to drink, wet his harness, bring a spray bottle of water to keep him damp, I stop and I let him rest but he still got really over heated and has been sick all day. He wouldn’t eat until just a few minutes ago. I think I am going to have to just not walk him while the temps are so extreme.
      It seems gooseberries like cool weather, maybe it’s too warm where you are. I am planning a few different recipes. Will start tomorrow. Thanks so much.

      July 17, 2016
      • Oh poor him, I hope the weather becomes better for Percy soon.
        Apart from strawberries, other berries are very hard to find here: raspberries, blueberries and on very rare occasions cranberries. And when they are, their prices really make you think twice…

        July 18, 2016
  14. – Its mid summer and we have a very chilly climate in Tiburon. We sure could use some of the heat from your end if we were able to give some of our cool air.
    – What fresh and beautiful produce. I don’t think I ever had gooseberries. I should look for them and give them a try. Gerlinde’s cake sounds so interesting and yummy. I’ll look forward to see yours when baked. 😀

    July 17, 2016
    • I will take some of your chilly weather and gladly trade it for the intense heat in NYC!! Thanks Fae, still working on recipes testing something right now. Gooseberry and currants are very juicy😃

      July 17, 2016
  15. Heather #

    Suzanne, try standing Percy in shallow cold water and maybe have an ice pack wrapped in towelling when things are tough for him in summer. Just a suggestion, hope you don’t mind.

    July 17, 2016
    • I don’t mind at all Heather. My home is air conditioned maybe before I take him out I should wet him with cold water. Poor guy is miserable. I didn’t walk him tonight just a quick trip to the backyard. Thank you😘

      July 17, 2016
  16. What fun post Suzanne! Love the produce photos! Making me want to make the drive down to the farmer’s market closest to us. Our cherry tomato plant is done– but Larry planted star jasmine along our fence, using compost fro our yard and 3 volunteer tomato plants sprang up! So we may have a second crop! Happy cucumber salad– I love it too. so fresh. Hope it cools down a bit. hugs friends.

    July 17, 2016
    • The produce is so beautiful it’s amazing really, the colors so vibrant. How nice that you will have more tomatoes, I still have a lot of green tomatoes on the plant they are turning yellow slowely but surely. My tomatoes are golden not red. It’s blisteringly hot outside, brutal. Going out for even a short walk is very uncomfortable. Trying to stay cool. Thanks so much Rhonda.

      July 18, 2016
      • Oh the dead of summer! It makes me think of the many years we lived in southern Spain and would pull the heavy blinds down midmorning til evening and stay in the house to avoid the blistering heat! –lots of fans and popsicles got us through! Hope you’re staying cool Suzanne– do you have to be out a lot for work?? Here’s to cool drinks and ripe tomatoes. hugs friend!

        July 20, 2016
      • Yes I remember that as well in Italy and Malta shutters were closed and curtains drawn to keep the heat out. Fans of course but there was no central air conditioning. Thank you Rhonda you are such a good friend, hugs back!

        July 20, 2016
  17. I am not one to enjoy the sun too, but if you ask me to go for a walk in the market, I definitely will! How lucky to have your own cherry tomatoes! Hopefully your zucchini plant will grow more flowers/zucchini! Stay cool my friend! 😉

    July 18, 2016
    • Thank you Jasline I just saw your photo’s of Iceland, yours is yet another blog that I no longer get notifications for and I apollogize for not seeing your recent posts. I think my zucchini is a lost cause. I didn’t plant it correctly I think, not deep enough in the soil. Oh well, there is always next year. Thank you and stay cool as well.

      July 18, 2016
  18. That is some haul! Lucky you being able to buy proper gooseberries. In France we can only get tiny ones. Two of my absolute favourite recipes with gooseberries are gooseberry fool and gooseberry crumble. My mouth is watering just thinking about them… I hope Percy’s not suffering too much in the heat. It’s incredibly hot here at the moment (over 105°C today) and Java seems to suffer more than Hugo. Maybe because she can’t sit still!

    July 18, 2016
    • The gooseberries are always beautiful here, they are good but very sour/tart. The purple variety are sweeter than the green. I thought they would be prolific in France, like England. I guess the climate is very different from England where it sounds like they grow beautifully. Percy can relate to Java’s discomfort, although it’s not because he can’t sit still, he does that really well. Thanks so much.

      July 18, 2016
  19. Hi Suzanne, how are you these days? I am too busy to work in my allotment that I started this year. It is so much harder than I thought. But when I saw my vegetables are growing, I forgot all the exhausted work before. Now, I start to have my own courgette/ zucchini, raspberries, strawberries, cucumber and pumpkin will be later. And my hubby picked some green gooseberries from our new friend’s allotment. He told me to make gooseberry jam and some other dessert which I will show you later. Wish you have a nice and cool weather! 🙂

    July 18, 2016
    • I really look forward to your gooseberry recipes. They are a bit of a challenge for me since they are not a fruit/berry that I eat regularly. Doing well, hope you are too!! Thanks so much.

      July 18, 2016
      • Thanks Suzanne, it will be really hot in next few days. Maybe something sour will cool me down!

        July 18, 2016
  20. The weather has been really warm and humid here too Suzanne. I’m planning on visiting our local farmers market this weekend to get some peaches and cherries! I must admit that I’ve never tasted or cooked with gooseberries.

    July 18, 2016
    • Seems gooseberries at least to most is rather foreign. They are so plentiful at the market I felt I needed to give it a go. Thanks so much Heather and stay cool.

      July 18, 2016
  21. This heat! Suzanne, I am totally with you. I like hot weather, but lately, it’s been too intense. Hard to be outside. I just feel so depleted. Poor Percy- know he hates it!!
    I love currants- they’re great in jam or to top a sweet custard tart! So pretty, too! I haven’t cooked with gooseberries. Your pictures are so pretty. Here, the strawberries are gone for the season. It was fleeting, and we had almost no sour cherries.
    xo

    July 18, 2016
    • I know right, the heat is oppressive. I can’t stand it, having a hard time coping. At least in the winter you can layer so you stay warm, in the summer there are no options other than going inside in the AC. Percy is suffering terribly. Today though I tried something different and it helped. I let him go in the backyard first thing (6AM) then fed him then wet him and we took a short walk. He fared well today and is comfortable. Yesterday he didn’t eat all day he was feeling so badly. Stay cool and thank you.

      July 18, 2016
  22. I’m totally guilty of shopping with my eyes. The good thing about that is you end up trying new things that may have otherwise been ignored.

    July 18, 2016
    • I know what you mean, and you are so right. If we didn’t see something that peaked our interest we may not have tried it. Thank you so much.

      July 18, 2016
  23. It is way too hot! I think last year was worse, but still. Summer is always a bit much for me too. Looks like a refreshing roundup of produce for you though!

    July 18, 2016
    • Thanks Mary Frances, yes it’s way too hot out. I am wimp though when it comes to heat. Hope you are doing well and having a great summer.

      July 18, 2016
  24. It’s good you don’t live in Arizona, Suzanne, as far as the heat goes! 🙂 It was fun to see the gooseberries. I knew nothing about them. I look forward to seeing what you do with them. They are very pretty. Poor Percy! I felt like that, too, after my walk today.

    July 18, 2016
    • Oh no I could never live in Arizona, I hate the sun unless it winter and very cold and the sun warms. I am still working on the gooseberries, they are a funny fruit or a berry I guess. It’s a little bit of a challenge. Thanks so much Shari, stay cool.

      July 18, 2016
  25. I am so with you!!!! It’s hot and humid here at the moment too and I hate it! My body literally swells to twice the size in the heat and everything is hard work 😦
    I’m loving all of those tomatoes, I’m having a tomato week this week!!
    Take care and keep cool xx

    July 19, 2016
    • Same here, so uncomfortable. Oh yes, the tomatoes are my favorite summer produce and I look forward to them all year. Thanks Elaine and try to stay cool. Hugs to Bob from Percy and me.

      July 19, 2016
  26. What a haul! Wow look at those beautiful tomatoes. I have heard of gooseberries but not sure I have ever had one. I know I have not cooked with them before. You are so blessed to have easy access to such fresh produce!

    July 19, 2016
    • Thanks Michelle, if I lived closer to the Union Square farmers market it would be even better, although I won’t complain the market in my neighborhood is miniscule with a very limited selection, the idea of travelling on the subway with bags of produce is not appealing, LOL.

      July 19, 2016
  27. Sandhya #

    Hi Suzanne,
    Hope Percy is feeling better.
    What a treat the farmers market veggies are!I envy you for finding gooseberries here. I loved them in India and loved the spicy pickle made with gooseberries too.

    July 19, 2016
    • I had wondered if they could be pickled, would love to see the recipe. Thanks so much Sandhya.

      July 19, 2016
  28. I love going to Farmer’s markets and it is cool to try new things! Looking forward to the next post!

    July 19, 2016
  29. Your bounty at the market looks lovely Suzanne! I am sure you will find many recipes to make with it all. A *hint* about your zucchini plant. Many plants of that type require a male and a female plant. You should probably plant minimum of two near each other, preferably three. (They don’t have to be in the same pot but situated next to each other.) From what I remember, they all start out the same sex but then once the bees start pollinating the flowers at least one will become the opposite sex and then the plants will produce the veggies on both of them. Of course I could be full of BS but this is something I remember a co-worker telling me years ago so who knows, lol! I myself have never planted zucchini but I just planted tomatillos in pots this year and the package said to plant at least two or three near each other in order to produce the fruit. Hope that helps. Hugs to Percy in that heat! xoxoxo

    July 19, 2016
    • I planted two in the same pot but not because I knew that. That’s really interesting. I may not have planted them deep enough or maybe I needed a third plant. I it could be two same sex plants? Wow, had no idea thank you!!!

      July 19, 2016
  30. A great trip to your market! A lovely varieaty of fresh produce too! My husbadn loves gooseberries, the green & red one’s too! Before, I was not a big fan of red currants, but since we grow them, I am! If you like yummy recipes with them, you can find some inspiration on my blog, of course! 😉 I feel like Percey does! It is extremely hot over here too! + 35°C!

    July 25, 2016

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