At this time of year, most people head straight to the blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries at the local farmers’ market bypassing everything else.
Fresh currants and gooseberries, which often sit in little green pint baskets right next to the more popular berries at the market, are still not particularly easy to come by, but are definitely becoming more readily available at farmers’ markets and speciality shops. Here’s what you need to know about them and—most importantly—how to enjoy them:
About the size of grapes, gooseberries can be red or green. The red are harder to find, but have a higher level of sugar than the green, so they’re slightly sweeter. Both, however, are best cooked, since they’re generally pretty sour.
Pull off the top stems and bottom tails of the berries and swap them in for raspberries or blackberries in mixed berry jam; you can also cook them down with sugar and use the thick compote as a filling for pie or fold it into freshly whipped cream.
Currants are related to gooseberries and come in a mix of colors. They are different from the dried currants you see at the grocery store, which are really just tiny raisins. The exact flavor of the berries depends of the color—red, white, or black—though they are all tart and juicy. While they are sour, they tend to be less sour than gooseberries so they can be eaten raw: sprinkle them on your morning yogurt or just eat them by the handful. But they do get deliciously sweet and juicy when cooked, too.
De-stem and fold them into muffin batter in place of other berries or use them to make jam. Or cook them down with raspberries to make an awesome sauce to drizzle over vanilla ice cream or a simple yogurt cake.