Eating & Using Gooseberry Fruit – Nutrition Guide

Gooseberry fruit comes in a range of colours, including green, red, and purple. Growing gooseberries became popular in Britain during the 19th Century and the fruit bushes were commonly found growing in the wild.

gooseberry fruit growing on the bush

The gooseberry bush is an important source of food for lots of different wildlife and copes well with the UK climate.

Gooseberry fruit is sweet and can be picked and eaten fresh, or used in dishes such as crumbles and jam. The most commonly found gooseberry is the green one and they are similar in shape and size to a grape.

Gooseberry bushes grow well and will need some pruning to keep their shape and size manageable. They can be fan trained, which may suit smaller gardens and you can also get dwarf gooseberry varieties.

What is Gooseberry Fruit?

Gooseberry fruit is native to North Africa and Eurasia and rapidly became more widespread due to its hardy nature.

The colours of gooseberries can vary but there are four main colours – red, white, green, and yellow. Gooseberries are a great starting point for any gardener new to growing fruit as they are one of the easiest to maintain.

You can harvest gooseberries from early summer onwards and the fruit can remain fresh for a week or so once picked.

What Do Gooseberries Taste Like?

Like most fruit, the flavours in gooseberries evolve as the fruit ripens. Green gooseberries tend to be the more sour of the varieties but still perfectly palatable as a stand alone snack.

They are not dissimilar in either taste or appearance to grapes but they are more acidic. Their interesting combination of slightly sour notes of lemon and green apples together with sweetness, makes for a very interesting fruit.

This unique flavour palate is the reason gooseberries are used to create a counterpoint to the sweetness of the added sugar in baked goods like crumbles and tarts.

As the fruit ripens and the fruit sugars increase, the flavour becomes more complex. And the reason that Sauv Blanc is said to have gooseberry notes? That’s because the wine and the fruit share a compound.

There’s a lot to digest when enjoying the goosberry taste experience. Thin skin combines with a juicy interior and the seeds in the centre add a yet another layer of texture, providing a satisfying crunch.

How to Eat Gooseberry Fruit?

Assuming the birds don’t get to the berries first, gooseberries are a simple snack that can be enjoyed once ripe. Alternatively, they can be cooked in a variety of ways, in both sweet and savoury dishes.

They make a delicious jam or chutney and can also be used to make infused gin or other tipples of your choice.

About Gooseberries

  • Scientific Name: Ribes uva-crispa
  • Fruit Family: Grossulariaceae
  • Related to:  Currants

How to Grow Gooseberries

Traditionally, gooseberries will grow as a bush and do very well in the UK. Of course, you also have the option of purchasing a smaller variety or going for the fan-trained option. Gooseberry bushes have lovely Autumnal colours and are a pretty addition to grow in your outside space.

Gooseberries tolerate shade quite well so they do not necessarily need to be placed in full sun to produce fruit.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that the more sun, the bigger the crop will be each summer. They require little watering but will need some when it is very dry and humid and the soil should be well-drained.

Harvesting Gooseberries

Be warned – it’s no easy task harvesting the gooseberry fruit. It’s quite literally a thorny issue due to the nature of this bush.

You will want to pop some gardening gloves on when it is time to harvest gooseberries early on in the summer. It’s important to be gentle with your picking technique as they are soft and quite easy to burst. 

Gooseberries that are going to be used in dishes can be picked while unripe but if they are going to be used as a snack, the longer you leave them the better.

How to Eat Gooseberries

Gooseberries are relatively underrated as a fruit, compared to other berries such as blueberries and blackberries.

This is a shame because they have many uses and their mixture of sweet and tart means they compliment many dishes and foods. Elderflower is a popular accompaniment to gooseberries and this is a popular drink and dessert.

Got a gooseberry glut? What a deliciously fruity problem! You can also make sweet jam or a sauce to add to cooked meats. Add a twist to the traditional ploughman’s lunch by making gooseberry chutney.

Gooseberries are also popular in alcoholic beverages including gin, wine, and vodka. Don’t forget, you always have the option of freezing gooseberries if you have a glut. This way, you can save them for when you know what to make.

Gooseberry Nutrition

Gooseberries have always been popular for their excellent nutritional content and make a delicious but healthy snack choice.

Gooseberries contain:

  • Sodium
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Fibre

How Many Calories in Gooseberries?

Gooseberries have 66 calories per 150g serving, and contain 15g of carbohydrates and 7g of fibre.

Gooseberry Health Benefits

Have you ever wondered if eating gooseberries provides any extra health benefits? These unusual fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are packed full of good stuff that can support a healthier body.

The vitamins and minerals in gooseberries have the following benefits:-

High In Fibre

Gooseberries are high in fibre, meaning they are a great option for anyone suffering from constipation. Being full of fibre also means they have the added benefit of meaning you will be fuller for longer – so you’ll be less likely to snack on the naughty stuff!

Aids The Immune System

Rich in Vitamin C means that eating gooseberries regularly can be a real benefit to the immune system. It makes your body stronger as a defence against illness and will also promote healing when needed. Vitamin C is also vital for the overall well being of our skin.

Reduces Likelihood Of Heart Disease

The potassium and soluble fibre content in gooseberries is thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Potassium helps to keep blood vessels healthy which then protects the heart from disease.

The Perfect Low Calorie Snack

They grow well and in abundance and can be eaten raw, meaning they are a very easy yet healthy option. These low calorie snacks can be enjoyed in a plethora of ways which means you’ll never tire of eating them.

Gooseberry Fruit FAQ’s

Are gooseberry seeds edible?

There are seeds to be found inside gooseberries and these are perfectly edible. They add a bit more texture if they are whizzed up as part of your favourite smoothie.

What fruit goes well with gooseberries?

Gooseberries go well with citrus fruits including oranges and lemons and are also popular with elderflowers. They make a lovely addition to that thirst quenching summer fruit salad complete with a range of berries.

Are all gooseberries suitable for cooking?

All gooseberries are suitable for cooking although some varieties, such as red, are sweet enough to enjoy as they are. Green ones can be a little more tart and make an ideal filling for pies and tarts.

Are gooseberries good for constipation?

Due to the high fibre content, gooseberries are good for constipation. Eating them regularly can help keep your system ticking over nicely and not getting blocked up and unable to go to the loo.

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