Gooseberries are a tart fruit and can’t really be eaten as they are. They need the addition of sugar and you can make an array of dishes with them such as gooseberry fool, a pie, a crumble, or even jam.
However, their season is short. It lasts from May to August and they need to be picked when they are ripe so how do you store them if you have too many? The answer is simple. If you can’t use them all within a couple of days, you can freeze them. They do freeze particularly well and last for a long time in the freezer, so you will be able to enjoy them throughout the year, even when they’re not in season. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze gooseberries and how to defrost them.
How To Freeze Gooseberries
Gooseberries are an easy fruit to freeze so you shouldn’t have any problems. However, when you come to freeze them, make sure that they are fully ripe as they won’t ripen in the freezer or when they are defrosted.
The best way to freeze gooseberries is to flash freeze them to stop them from sticking together. However, if you want to use them in something like jam, you don’t need to flash freeze them as they will be mushed up and the texture won’t matter.
This is the way to flash freeze them:
1. Wash and dry the gooseberries.
You don’t want to freeze the gooseberries with any dirt on them so give them a good wash. Be sure to dry them afterward with a cloth or paper towel as you don’t want to freeze them damp as ice crystals may form and when defrosted, the gooseberries may end up mushy.
2. Flash freeze the gooseberries.
Put the gooseberries on a baking tray, making sure that they aren’t touching each other. This will stop them from sticking together when they are bagged up. Put the tray in the freezer for about two hours until the gooseberries are frozen solid.
3. Put the gooseberries into freezer bags.
Divide the gooseberries into portions, depending on how many you think you will defrost at any one time. Be sure to squeeze the air out of the freezer bags otherwise the gooseberries may get freezer burn. They will still be safe to eat but they will lose taste and texture, as well as nutrients. Put labels on the bags with the date so you know when you put them in the freezer.
4. Put the bags in the freezer.
After an hour, shake the bags to loosen the gooseberries and then return them to the freezer.
This method works for raw gooseberries but you can also freeze stewed gooseberries. You will need to cool them down first. Transfer them to a cold bowl to help speed up the cooling process. You don’t want to keep them at room temperature for longer than two hours as, after this time, bacteria can start to form. You also don’t want to put them in the freezer while they are still warm as they will bring up the temperature and other food may spoil. Then portion out the stewed gooseberries into meal-size servings so that you only defrost as much as you need. Put them in freezer bags, squeezing out the air to prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze.
Tips For Freezing Gooseberries
- Flash freeze the gooseberries to stop them from sticking together. Even if you’re making a pie or a crumble, you will want the gooseberries to look presentable and not a mess.
- Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
- Shake the bags an hour after you have put them in the freezer as this will also help to stop the gooseberries from sticking together.
- Write the contents on the label as it isn’t always easy to determine what is in the bag. Grapes and gooseberries will look pretty similar through the plastic.
- Freeze gooseberry dishes such as pie and crumble but check how long the other ingredients will freeze for. The chances are high that they won’t freeze for as long as the gooseberries.
For How Long Can You Freeze Gooseberries
Gooseberries have an amazing shelf life in the freezer. You can keep them for up to two years and they will still keep their taste, texture, and color. They freeze for longer than most berries so you can enjoy them for a long time to come. This is good to know if you have a glut of gooseberries.
How Do You Defrost Gooseberries?
If you are using the gooseberries in a pie, crumble, or fool, it is best to defrost them slowly in the fridge. It will take a few hours and defrosting in this way will help them keep their texture. The same goes if you are going to use them as a garnish. If you are in a hurry, you can put the gooseberries in a bowl of cold water but they might lose some of their texture. Don’t use hot water as the gooseberries may explode.
However, if you are using the gooseberries in jam or in a smoothie, you can just add them straight from the freezer.
Can You Refreeze Gooseberries
It is safe to refreeze gooseberries but they probably won’t be as good the second time around. Ice crystals form every time food is frozen, so if you freeze them a second time, the gooseberries can go a little mushy. However, if you want to use them in a fool, smoothie, or jam, it won’t matter too much if the texture changes.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Gooseberries?
Gooseberries do freeze well and for a long time, so you can enjoy them even when they’re not in season. They also have the advantage in that they don’t retain moisture as much as other fruit. An added bonus is that they become sweeter the longer they are kept in the freezer.
Gooseberries are slightly more delicate when they have been frozen compared to fresh gooseberries, so handle them gently. They can burst if you are heavy-handed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing gooseberries but in case you still have questions we have answered a few here.
Should you freeze gooseberries whole or in halves?
You can freeze gooseberries whichever way you prefer. It all depends on how you are going to use them. If you are going to put them in a pie or crumble, you may want to cut them in half to make it easier to eat. If you are cooking them down in a jam or whizzing them up in a smoothie, you might as well freeze them whole as it is a waste of time cutting them in half when they are going to lose their shape.
Can you freeze gooseberry fool?
It isn’t a good idea to freeze gooseberry fool. The custard will become grainy and it might split.
Can you freeze cape gooseberries?
Yes, you can freeze cape gooseberries in the same way as you can freeze ordinary gooseberries.