Invicta Gooseberries from Tibbs Farm

About gooseberries 

Gooseberries are related to blackcurrants but Invicta are slightly larger, like small grapes. The Elizabethans loved them but over the years popularity has dwindled until recently when imaginative foodies have restored their reputation.  They are a natural partner to oily fish, in salads and add the same tartness to creamy puddings that you would usually use citrus flavours.

The Invicta gooseberry is a popular variety. The Invicta gooseberries we sell come from the Tibbs fruit farm, in Udimore, East Sussex, where they mostly grow strawberries and gooseberries until the small summer fruits come through (soon).

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How do they taste?

The Invicta gooseberry is a large yellow-green fruit – and their taste can vary, depending on where they are grown, but we can definitely say that this variety is smooth and not too tart.

How to store them?

To store gooseberries, just place them loosely in a shallow container, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate (for up to 2-3 days). Don’t wash them until they’re ready to be eaten, as they can grow a bit mouldy if they’re left damp in the fridge.

If you want to freeze the berries, wash them carefully in cold water, pat dry and place in a single layer on baking tray in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags and return them to freezer.


What foods pair with gooseberries?

Most recipe ideas use the base of a gooseberry compote… A delightful combination of gooseberries and sugar, or honey/maple syrup work equally well, reduced down with a splash of water till soft and pulpy.

If you’re looking for food that pairs well with gooseberries, try adding elderflower cordial – add a spoonful of your compote to elderflower cordial with a little fresh ginger for a refreshing summer drink.

You can also use compote in stunning cakes – spread a spoonful of compote along with softly whipped cream as an alternative filling to Victoria sponge or a delicious topping to party buns or the perfect accompaniment to ginger scones.

Gooseberries can also be used in pastries and pies;  you could whip up a delicious patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie. (link to the recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3147693/patchwork-strawberry-and-gooseberry-pie)

Gooseberries are not just great for dessert; they work equally well as part of a savoury main meal too. Pair them with oily fish, like salmon alongside seasonal greens for a balance to the rich flavours. Or try gooseberries combined with Asian flavours like soy, chilli and fish sauce to achieve a hot and sour taste which is a little similar to the Japanese sour plum umami sensation.

But if you prefer, you could also try to cook a simple but delightful old fashioned gooseberry pie.:

Ingredients 
  • 250 g. unsalted butter
  • 140 g. icing sugar
  • 5 eggs yolks
  • 500 g. plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the filling 
  • 900 g. Invicta gooseberries
  • about 200 g. caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

 

  1. To make the pastry, mix the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl, then tip in 4 egg yolks. Add the flour and mix it all together with your fingers until you get a crumbly texture like damp breadcrumbs. Work in 1-2 tbsp water until the pastry just comes together, then divide it in half and roll it into 2 balls. This will make double the amount you need, so freeze half for another time. Lay the ball you are using on a floured surface, flatten it out with your hands, wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins.
  2. For the filling, tip the fruit, sugar, or a splash of water into a saucepan and simmer everything for about 10 mins until the fruit is soft. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if you think it needs it. Pour the fruit into a pie dish about 25cm wide and 5cm deep.
  3. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface so it’s big enough to make a lid for your pie dish. Cut a thin strip of pastry to stick onto the lip of the pie dish – this doesn’t have to be one continuous piece. Stick it on with a little water, then moisten the strip with more water and place the pastry lid on top. Press down firmly, trim off any excess pastry and crimp. Make a hole in the middle of the lid, brush the top with the remaining egg yolk and sprinkle over some caster sugar. You should have enough pastry trimmings left over to make some artistic leaves to decorate your pie, if you like. Bake for 30 mins or until the top is golden brown. Leave the pie to relax a little, then serve it with custard or vanilla ice cream.

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Come and visit us to see our online shop at www.finandfarm.co.uk 

Invicta Gooseberries from Tibbs Farm

Visit to Tibbs farm!

Morgane, our intern, is doing the rounds of visiting our customers and growers to get an idea of how food works in Sussex, from her Parisian point of view.  Here’s her first interview with Robert from Tibbs Farm, at Udimore, who grows our delicious summer fruit.

Morgane’s interview with Robert at Tibb’s Farm (June 2016)

Muir and I went to visit Tibbs farm, in Udimore, East Sussex. At the moment they are growing mainly strawberries and gooseberries but other summer fruit will come soon. They specialise in “pick your own fruits”.

We met Robert Wheeler there, owner of the farm. He showed us round his farm, where he grows all the delicious fruit bushes. I had the opportunity to interview him.

 

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Could you please tell me the story of your farm? And how did you become a farmer?

So I’m from a farming family going back a long time. We’ve been growing hops for six generations. So I’m a sixth generation hop grower, so that goes back to the 1790s. My immediate farming family also goes back a long time. My father came here in 1956 and this is where I work now. That’s how I became a farmer.

Why did you choose to follow the family path? Did you have the choice to do something else?

I certainly once had a choice. I went to university and could have got a job but farming is a way of life, isn’t it, so that is why I wanted to become a farmer.

What fruit do you produce?

Well we have strawberries, loganberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants and further on we grow raspberries as they’re quite popular fruits.  Later on, we also have blackberries.  We grow our fruit – on this sloping bank for drainage and easy access.

Do you have pickers to pick your fruits?

Yes, we have pickers in for that. We try not to waste any, that’s the point. Nobody likes waste, so we do pick quickly.  There are some fruits whose shelf-life is very short, like loganberries, and if you don’t pick them when they’re ready, after a day, they go mushy and juicy, and must be thrown away.

When do you grow?

We are now so used to seeing strawberries in shops all year around. You have them in glass- houses and you have them from South Africa or anywhere you like, they’re all coming but flavour is best when they are properly grown in season. So, you can have strawberries all year around. But the traditional way in this country; they start about June-July, and that is the peak season for strawberries.

And here, we grow them in the ground without cover, so we don’t force them to come early and we don’t try to make them come late.  We choose different varieties so the season can last as long as possible.

How do you treat your fruit?

We try to be as organic as possible. We just have to make sure we don’t have disease problems. There are aphids and other insects, but we live with them!

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Come and visit us and see our online shop at www.finandfarm.co.uk

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If not, then hopefully at some point we can deliver to you!

Visit to Tibbs farm!