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May 2024
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Gooseberry crumble, stewed gooseberries with crumble

500 g ripe gooseberries, 250 g flour, 180 g sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon.

Butter out an ovenproof dish, spread the fruit in it and sprinkle with 50 g sugar. Mix the flour, remaining sugar and cinnamon, pour the melted butter over it, and when stirring, the crumble will form almost automatically.

Spread the fruit on the bottom of an ovenproof dish, cover with the crumble mixture and bake in an oven preheated to 180° for about 20 - 30 minutes, so that the crumble browns. Let cool a little before serving. You can have half whipped cream with it or a vanilla sauce. The casserole is also delicious cold. Outside of berry season, you can also make it with well drained, preserved gooseberries (use the juice elsewhere).

With Waldemar Thomas at Geibel's Gooseberries in Klein-Zimmern

The gooseberry is, in a way, the pumpkin of soft fruits. Not because of its size or variety, but because it, like that one, is currently experiencing a renaissance, has come back into fashion. Ludwig Geibel observes with satisfaction that almost every one of his customers takes a small bowl of gooseberries from the farm shop. Since they are only sold when they are really ripe, you can taste that they are the sweetest of all local berry fruits.

Just a few years ago, the Geibels did not have them. More precisely: not anymore, because the father, seeking the farm's salvation in specializing in apples and sour cherries, had cleared the grandfather's berry crops. Son Ludwig and his wife Katharina returned to variety and are obviously on the right track. On 12.5 hectares, the Geibels mainly grow strawberries and apples (30 varieties), also cherries, plums, pears, raspberries, red and black currants.

And gooseberries, on 400 bushes, more than anyone else far and wide. After all, in this country the center of berry culture lies on the Upper Rhine, in the area around Oberkirch in the Ortenau. The gooseberry season is short, lasting only three to four weeks, and that of the early, green variety Invicta is already over. At present the gooseberries are suffering from sunburn as a result of the high ozone levels; nevertheless, the more popular red varieties, such as the good old Triumph or the particularly large-berried Achilles, are now ripening. In England, where "gooseberries" are held in exceptionally high esteem, one was finally successful in breeding a berry without thorns, of which Geibel wants to obtain plants. For he wants to make self-picking of the berries even more comfortable than it already is, because the always only three shoots on which the berries grow are comfortably 1.50 m high. Self-pickers only pay 5.60 per kilo and are allowed to snack while they work. For children who like to help, there is a dog, rabbits, a sandpit and all kinds of toys.

In France, gooseberries are called grosseilles à maqueraux - because they are eaten with mackerel. The Larousse gastronomique knows this, and certainly a strong and sour gooseberry sauce goes well with the fatty fish. Now, Maquerau colloquially also means pimp; whether there is a connection between the two, of course, remains unclear. However, apart from the Scandinavian countries, the British Isles have the most to offer with gooseberries. One recipe in particular belongs in every kitchen where desserts are prepared: Gooseberry Crumble, gooseberry pie with crumble but no pastry base.

Fruit Farm

Katharina and Ludwig Geibel

Brünnchenweg 12 (signposted)

64846 Gross-Zimmern-Klein-Zimmern (near Darmstadt)


Farm Shop: Mo-Fri 8-12.30 a.m. & 2.30-6.30 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

from Waldemar Thomas