Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adding Wild Gooseberries to Beer

 After reading about the Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook going foraging for berries in the Sierras I became interested what type of berries could I find in San Diego County. Well, there are actually quite a few (blackberries, thimble berries, salmon berries, currants), but the one I was most interested in was the wild gooseberry. There are several varieties of the gooseberry in San Diego County, but the most abundant and convenient is the Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum). Once I knew what to look for I saw them everywhere. They are located on trails in Poway, Clairemont, Scripps Ranch and most of the county.

First off, they are extremely easy to spot in the spring due to their beautiful and bright colored flowers. (flower picture borrowed from here). And then when the berries are starting to get ripe in late July the leaves turn a nice bright red color.

Now, here is the catch. These bushes have some crazy spines on them and they make picking difficult. In addition, these plants grow in the same places that poison oak does (also another way to find them). So look along stream beds that are shaded by Oak trees. The other unfortunate part is the berries ripe in btaches. I had to collect 3 or 4 times over 2 weeks to get a usable amount.

As I collected the berries I would give them a good wash and then into a ziplock in the freezer. From there I pretty much followed the directions on Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.

  1. 4 cups of Sierra gooseberries into a large pot. Barely cover the berries with water, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and, using a potato masher or large spoon, crush the berries to a pulp. Do not blend.
  3. Let this steep, covered, until it gets to room temperature, then pour everything into a container and let it sit overnight in the fridge.
  4. Strain the juice through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or press with a juicer. This will store in the fridge for a week or so, as-is.

I ended up with about 6 oz of juice with a gravity in the 1.040s. The juice is delicious and has a very strong aroma. The flavor is difficult to explain: it has a good level of tartness and a is sorta candy-like. This juice was added straight to my Holiday Party Oud Bruin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...