For those of you still digging out from under the last dump of snow, no this is not what our gooseberries look like - we still have a few months to go! This picture was taken early last June, when I was enchanted by how fresh and juicy these berries looked. I had a vague memory of eating gooseberry jam once, and had visions of afternoon tea on the lawn with homemade scones to go along with the jam. What a lovely place Mucky Boots Farm was going to be, I thought!
The problem was knowing when to pick them. They looked so lovely when they were green we ate a couple and spit them out, they tasted so sour. So we waited, and waited, and finally towards the end of the summer they turned red. How exciting, we thought, and ate some more. They were just as awful - bitter, as well as sour. Our gooseberry adventure sputtered to a halt, with bushes full of nasty tasting red berries we finally turned over to the birds, wondering when, exactly, goosberries are supposed to be picked.
I thought we would sort that out this year, and was content to wait until then. Maybe gooseberries are like rhubarb - it's really all the sugar that makes them taste good. But this week, as we have continued our weeding and pruning marathon, I had to weed under and around the gooseberry bushes, and came face to face (literally) with this.
Yikes! This is only one of a dozen branches on each of our four gooseberry bushes. Now I'm thinking no amount of tasty gooseberry jam is worth me skewering an eye on a thorn. The future of these bushes is looking uncertain...