Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

I didn’t even know…

June 18th, 2012 by Carolyn

I’d never heard of Gooseberries until I started working at Plimoth Plantation, which horrified my co-workers, they responded like this…

 

 

and thankfully once they got over their initial shock they showed me these…

 

Gooseberries

In The Herbal, by John Gerard, in 1633, he writes:

“The ripe berries, as they are sweeter, … are very seldom eaten or used as a sauce.”

So for us this means we use them before they ripen, when they do they loose their tartness and become pink in color. He also writes:

“They are used in divers sauces for meat, as those that are skillful in cookerie can better tell than myself”

 

In translation he can’t cook, he just eats. Thankfully we have many cookery sources from the time period and are able to find gooseberries in all sorts of recipes. My favorites are hen cooked with gooseberry sauce, as well as gooseberry tart, both delicious in their own ways. Most recently we fired up the clome oven and baked ourselves a gooseberry tart using this recipe:

 

“Tartes of Gooseberries.

Lay your gooseberries in your crust, and put to them cinnamon and ginger, sugar and a few small raisins put among them and cover them with a cover.”

A Booke of Cookery with the Serving of the Table; A.W.; 1591; page 28

 

The result was this…

 

 

and a closer look…

 

 

We will all sorely miss the gooseberries once they are gone for the season, like all good things in life, like eggnog, but just like that eggnog the gooseberries will be back. And we will all be waiting…. with recipes.

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One Response to “I didn’t even know…”

  1. [...] arrival of gooseberries in the little patch by the saw pit are a sure sign that summer is here, and munching on a [...]

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