Gooseberries are not commonly grown or used in many parts of the United States or at least not the areas that I have lived. I spent summers in England growing up and I would always go berry picking with my grandmother. They were always in season during that time and we would come home with buckets full of them. Gooseberries have a sour taste (at least the green ones do) and for that reason they are wonderful to add sugar to for baking and desserts. They can be eaten raw or cooked. We would use them to make crumble which equaled out the sour taste with sugar. They are so delicious!
The Gooseberry is from the same family as currents but has the same shape and texture of a grape. They are indigenous to Europe and Asia and are often found in alpine thickets or English hedgerows. They grow best in cold temperatures but can be found anywhere from the south of England to Scotland depending on the time of year and the temperature outside.
Varieties: There are a few hundred different varieties of gooseberries ranging from wild to cultivated types. They are generally hairy on the exterior of the skin but there are a few varieties that are smooth. They can range in color from green (the most popular color) to red, purple, yellow and even white. The green berries are typically more sour while the red, purple, yellow and white are typically late season berries and tend to be more sweet.
Season: In the United States gooseberries are in their peak season from May thru August with July being their best month. In Europe gooseberries are in their peak from June to August. They can be harder to find in certain parts of the United States but look for them in your local farmers markets or research online how to get them delivered in your local area.
Heath Benefits: Gooseberries contain some important phytochemicals including anthocyanin which has been linked to reducing the effects of aging, inflammation and certain cancers. The iron in these berries maintains good blood circulation and regeneration which reduces the risk of heart disease and in general keeps your heart healthy. Vitamin A and C improves your body’s skin tone by creating collagen, reduces hair loss, maintains healthy bones and keeps a healthy immune system. These berries also have a high fiber content which maintain a healthy digestive system.
Nutrients: Contains vitamins A, B, C and E as well as calcium, zinc, sodium, magnesium, iron and potassium. One cup of gooseberries is about 66 calories.
How to store them: When selecting gooseberries at your local store or famers market be sure to pick ones that are firm and undamaged with a bright and vibrant color. Gooseberries are similar to grapes in texture. Store your berries unwashed in the fridge for up to two weeks.