Over the past few years our garden has yielded an abundance of deliciously golden Cape Gooseberry fruit – all for ‘free’ as the plants have seeded themselves and simply got on with their cycle of reproduction. There is usually so much fruit that our grandchildren could pick mugfuls and there would still be enough to both satisfy the birds and allow me to make jam or to make a sauce for ice-cream. These gooseberries were a late autumnal / early winter treat that meant one could pick a few after hanging out the laundry or simply when passing by one of the many bushes weighed down with fruit.

Then came the relentless drought. Many gooseberry bushes sprung up as usual, but hardly any survived – and those have scarcely enough fruit to make picking worthwhile. Besides, the birds need that sustenance more than I do! Hopefully, like the Canary creeper, the gooseberries will bounce back again next year – if we get some decent rain between now and next autumn.

17 thoughts on “DROUGHT = NO JAM

  1. It’s been over 50 years since I had a gooseberry! My parents had one old bush on their farm, which sometimes yielded a couple of berries tops. I saw some jam at the farmers market last year and was tempted….


      • I actually haven’t been to the farmers market at all this year. It’s a very small space, some of it inside an old building and some outside in the nice weather, but it’s always crowded at any time. I’m sure they must have COVID rules – but I will have to go and get peaches in another month, so will check out the jam then. I bought my strawberries from a strawberry farm and avoided the crowds, and made two lots of freezer jam. I also miss their cheese…..so much better than the grocery store.


  2. The ground cherries that are native here are ripe when they fall off the plant. Do you pick yours before they fall?

    I wanted to plant some this summer but didn’t manage to get seeds in time. I have seeds now and hope to get them started next year – maybe they’ll keep going on their own after that.


    • Gooseberries are ready to be picked when their ‘cages’ are golden and crisping up. Needless to say, they are so tasty that many fruit tends to get picked as soon as the green colouring has disappeared. The longer one leaves them though, the sweeter they are.


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