Why You Should Try Gooseberries This Summer
The gooseberry bush produces a delicious fruit that goes by many different names, since it grows in many parts of the world. Common names include gooseberry (English), groseille à maquereaux (French) and uva spina (Italian). Gooseberries are native to Europe, northwestern Africa, most of Asia and some parts of the United States and Canada, growing in mountain thickets and rocky woods.
Come summertime, gooseberries are a common sight at farmers markets and roadside fruit stands. The fruit has many minute seeds and comes in a variety of colors, such as green, white (gray-green), yellow and shades of red from pink to dark purple.
Most Common Culinary Uses
Gooseberries are used in a variety of ways. Either on their own or mixed with berries such as raspberries, strawberries or blueberries, gooseberries are used often in pies, fruit fools and crumbles. They are also used to flavor beverages such as sodas and flavored waters, and can be used to make fruit wines and teas.
Gooseberries can easily be preserved as jams, jellies, and dried fruit or stored in simple syrup to be used as a topping. Many enjoy using homemade gooseberry syrup as a topping for oatmeal, ice cream, cottage cheese and more recently, Greek yogurt.
While gooseberries are typically used in sweet desserts and libations, they also work well as an ingredient for sauces where the acidity balances the flavors of proteins such as meats, fatty fish such as trout or mackerel, and fowl such as goose.
Like all plant foods, gooseberries are loaded with phytonutrients, compounds found in plants that impart many health benefits like reducing inflammation. They contain a decent amount of vitamin C, 45 mg per cup, in fact, and they are also a good source of fiber with a whopping 6.5g per one cup!
- Gooseberries belong to the species Ribes which includes currants.
- Fruits of the European gooseberry may be quite large, not unlike a small plum but typically 1 inch in length.
- American gooseberries are smaller, about ½ inch and perfectly round.
- Most gooseberries are far too tart to be eaten out of hand.
- Depending on when summer arrives in the northeastern United States and Canada, gooseberries are available from late May to August.
Doug Cook is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator. He practices a holistic and integrative approach providing science-based guidance on food and diet along with nutritional supplements and natural health products where appropriate. He is regularly called upon by the media to help make sense of the latest nutrition and food issues and other hot topics making the news. He writes a popular newspaper column where he deconstructs the manufacturers’ marketing angle, nutritional and health claims of various food products. He also co-authored Nutrition for Canadians for Dummies (Wiley 2008).