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Gooseberries are known for making jams, desserts and wines thanks to their sweet-tart taste when ripe. The fruits have just one season through the year and when it’s time to harvest, you will much likely end up with a lot of them. Under-ripe berries are perfect for jam preparation whilst the fully ripe fruits are ideal for use in beverages and desserts.
The gooseberries, however, will not last too long after the harvest and this is were freezing them comes in. Freezing gooseberries will keep them fresh for a long time, maybe months, allowing you to prepare them whenever you’re ready. It’s not a matter of throwing them inside a freezer, but you will first have to prepare them first before anything.
So let’s dive into the process of freezing gooseberries:
Steps in preparing and freezing gooseberries
Step 1: Clean the gooseberries
Alright, this may be somehow tedious especially if you have a large amount of harvest, as it involves removing the stalks and remains of the fruit blossom from each gooseberry. You won’t want those inedible bits in your puddings or jams.
Step 2: Wash and dry
Give your gooseberries a thorough wash and remove all dirt and dust as well as discard any badly bruised fruits. Part the lot dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper to avoid the remaining water being frozen around the fruit.
Step 3: Spread out on a tray
For further drying, spread the dried gooseberries on a fresh tea towel across a baking sheet to absorb any remaining water. You can also spread them across a plastic tray and leave them to dry for some time. Use a sizeable tray that will fit in your freezer.
Step 4: Freeze your fruits
Cover the gooseberries fully with the tea towel and place the tray of the fruits into the freezer overnight.
Step 5: Bag up
The next morning, take out the frozen gooseberries from the freezer and gently release them from the tea towel and undo any berries that may be stuck together. You may also want to divide them into how you are going to use them, for instance, those that you will need to use for making pies, jam, and label them accordingly.
Step 6: Return the fruits to the freezer
After bagging the fruits, return them back into the freezer before they start to thaw out. We recommend bagging the fruits in smaller sizes rather than using one large bag. This will limit the number of times the unused gooseberries are exposed to potential unwanted defrosting.
How long can you freeze gooseberries?
Frozen berries have a prolonged shelf life in the freezer. The fruits really maintain their colour and shape while in the freezer. With proper storage inside a freezer, that is, frozen in portions in bags, the fruits can remain frozen for up to 2 years. Some people like roll the fruits in sugar and freeze them for a snack or in other times, freeze gooseberries in ice cubes. These ones can be good for up to 12 months.
What about defrosting gooseberries?
Now some people will be tempted to remove the bagged gooseberries from the freezer and put them in a bowl of hot water to defrost. This will be a terrible mistake as the gooseberries will explode. If you’re in a hurry, put them in a bowl of cold water instead, and give them time, probably hours, to defrost.
If you’re defrosting for garnishes, put your fruits in the fridge to thaw for about 12 hours so they can regain their shape and taste. For smoothies, pies, or cakes, and recipes, you can use your gooseberries right from the freezer, any time.
How can you refreeze gooseberries?
The short answer is yes, but with a big caution. Refreezing gooseberries makes them degrade in flavour and become somewhat mushy in texture. The best thing is to avoid refreezing your fruits.
Gooseberries freeze well and can be kept in the freezer for months and become sweeter with time. Just follow the steps above and your fruits will be worth it in the long run. Also, when harvesting, pick the firm gooseberries that have developed their full colour. Another thing, try to freeze your fruits soon after harvest as this prevents them from losing quality or flavour. You also realize that gooseberries are inexpensive to freeze. With that said, let us know how your fruits turned out after freezing.