Some years ago I planted a gooseberry and a blackcurrant bush in my garden. The…
This is the time of year when fruit starts appearing in my garden. The raspberry canes are promising a bumper crop and this weekend I discovered that the gooseberries were ripe. The gooseberries were a surprise to me last year. I planted a bush a few years ago and thought it had died. Last year I found the bush in a totally different place in the garden. I am not sure how it got there but was pleased to pick the crop of 26 gooseberries. I put them to good use and made gooseberry and elderflower sorbet. This year I has a lot more gooseberries, 220g of them. This is not enough to make a crumble or jam so I decided to experiment and try making a gooseberry cordial.
Nature is wonderful at creating flavour pairings. So often ingredients that match perfectly can be found growing at the same time. Apple and blackberries or new potatoes and fresh mint are prime examples. When gooseberries are in season white elderflowers are found on elder trees. They grow wild near me, their distinctive smell often sensed before they are seen. Elderflower and gooseberries is a wonderful pairing. The tartness of the gooseberries is lifted with the delicate sweet taste of the elderflowers. Orange is another fruit that goes well with gooseberries and I decided to add the flavour of orange to the cordial by adding some orange blossom essence into the sugar making orange sugar. The whole combination worked perfectly making a drink that is ideal on a hot day. Slightly tart with an overtone of sweetness, it is perfect drunk with ice whilst sitting in the sunshine.
Last year I picked the gooseberries whilst they were still green. This year I left them on the bush a little longer and some of them had turned red and others delicate pink. This made them slightly sweeter and also added a delicate pink tint to the drink. It reminded me of dawn early on a summer day when the sky is filled with a delicate pink glow and the birds are singing as they wake up.
The cordial is really easy to make, the only hard part is topping and tailing the gooseberries. This seems to take forever. Once this is done the gooseberries are put in a pan with the orange sugar and brought to a boil. The pan is simmered until the gooseberries are soft then the elderflower blossom is added. Leave the cordial to cool and the delicate flavour of the elderflowers will infuse into it. Once cool the cordial is poured though a fine mesh sieve to remove the flowers and pips. The cordial can be stored in a sterilised bottle and used diluted with water or fizzy water as a drink. The neat cordial could also be used as a topping for desserts.
What do you make with gooseberries? I hope to have an even bigger crop next year to experiment with/
Gooseberry, Orange and Elderflower Cordial
Gooseberry, orange and elderflower cordial
- 220 g gooseberries
- 2 elderflower blossoms
- 150 g sugar
- zest of one orange
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 150 ml water
- Make the orange sugar by mixing the orange zest, orange extract and sugar together in a food processor.
- Top and tail the gooseberries
- Add them to a pan with the orange sugar and water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer until the gooseberries are soft.
- Turn off the heat and add the elderflowers
- Leave to cool then strain though a fine meshed sieve.
- Pour into a sterilised bottle
For other refreshing summer drinks why not try sparkling matcha which is a refreshing lime drink.