one wonders.)Today, though, the bristled fruit has become a relative rarity, playing gooseberry while we cavort with sweeter, more colourful fruits such as the strawberry.
You might struggle to find gooseberries in the supermarket, although some have a limited supply.
Shows are staged to judge the heaviest single gooseberry, the heaviest ‘gooseberry twins’ (two berries on the same stalk), the heaviest ‘gooseberry triplets’ (three berries on the same stalk) and the heaviest plate of 12 (paper plate with 12 berries collected together).
Dating back to 1800’s, the shows generate a lot of local excitement and at their peak in the 1800’s, there were more than 120 gooseberry shows held in the regions of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
Gooseberries are the first soft fruits in many gardens, especially if the immature green berries are thinned in May for cooking.
Like redcurrants, plants develop a permanent system of fruiting sideshoots, and may be trained as fans, espaliers, cordons and standards, as well as bushes grow all kinds on a single clear stem, known as a leg, for easy maintenance.
Today, the shows are limited to Cheshire and one at Egton Bridge in Yorkshire and attract about 100 entrants.
At the shows, the weight of each gooseberry is carefully recorded in pennyweights and grains.
As men well know, size is everything, so bushes were pruned almost out of existence to allow just a handful of fruits to be coaxed to supersize proportions.
The names of the varieties were as delicious as the fruits.
Allostock hosted the Association Dinner at The Crown , Lower Peover.