In East Tennessee, gooseberries are ready to pick in mid June. They are green and tart. If left to ripen on the bush, the berries turn purplish red and the seeds are larger—brown and noticeable. At this point the berries are sweet, but the seeds make gooseberries undesirable, except for making jelly.
Picking the berries is tricky because of the thorns. Even thornless varieties send up shoots with thorns. The bushes require little care and produce lots of berries, even on the smallest branches. Stemming the berries and removing the blossom end are time-consuming tasks.
Pastry for 9-inch, two-crust pie
1 ¾ cups sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
5 cups fresh gooseberries
Heat oven to 425˚. Prepare pastry. Stir together sugar and flour. Put half the berries into the pastry-lined pie pan; sprinkle with half the sugar-flour mixture. Repeat with remaining berries and sugar-flour mix. Cover with top crust, cut slits, seal, and flute edge. Cover edge with 2-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35-45 minutes or until juice begins to bubble through slits in crust.