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The Fruit Library

All About Gooseberries

Gooseberries are hard to come by these days, but they are beloved in cookbooks of old. Both unripened and more mature gooseberries have loads of pectin and a sour flavor, making them perfect for jams, jellies and other confections. Their distinct sourness plays well in savory meat and vegetable dishes as well. Gooseberries make for delicious drinks that wake you up with their bright flavor.

For some, the best way to eat a gooseberry is immediately after picking! When you’re not snacking on raw gooseberries, they can be eaten in sweet and savory dishes, cooked using countless techniques.

At FruitStand, we look forward to sending you a beautiful package of these extraordinary fruits from our small specialty farms partners. Keep reading to learn all about gooseberry!

Gooseberries are deliciously sour little fruits that look like tiny watermelons. These summer fruits are about the size of a cherry tomato with a distinctively striped pattern. Their season lasts through the late spring until the end of summer, from about May to August, peaking in July.

When they’re unripened, gooseberries taste like a tart, sour grape. Gooseberries at this stage are often cooked down to bring out their sweetness. As the fruit matures, gooseberries keep their bright sourness as the flavor develops into a refreshing, sour melon taste. In comparison to other berries like strawberries, blueberries and grapes, ripened gooseberries have a predominantly tart, sour flavor with a hint of sweetness. The entire fruit is edible including the thin skin and tiny seeds inside. 

Nutritionally speaking, gooseberries are known to be packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals. These tart berries are relatively low in calories and high in fiber and vitamin C.

This fruit is part of the Ribes species, part of the same famed botanical family as currants. Native to North America, parts of Africa, Europe and Asia, these far-reaching botanical berries grow on a shrubby tree that can spread to around five feet high and nearly as wide. 

Gooseberries can be hard to find in the United States because they’re only allowed to be grown in certain areas. Legend has it that this is because of a fungal disease that hit the crop in the early part of the 20th century. And because the berries are so dang delicious, certain pests would have an adverse reaction on other plants and trees growing in their vicinity. Today gooseberries are grown in the US where they’re carefully tended by specialty farmers like the ones we partner with at FruitStand.

These hard to find fruits are loved by people of all ages! Because there are tiny seeds inside each little gooseberry, be extra careful when sharing these fruits with young children.

Gooseberry varieties grow natively across North America, North Africa and the Caucasus Mountains that span Europe and Asia. In the United States, many varieties grow throughout California and parts of Florida. 

Gooseberries as we know them today come from either the European variety Ribes grossularia or the American Ribes hirtellum. Gooseberries grow on shrubby bushes that can reach up to five feet high and about as wide.

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Gooseberries season lasts through the late spring until the end of summer, from about May to August. Find gooseberries at their peak in July.

Whether gooseberries are certified organic or not will depend on the farm where they were grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.

Still curious about gooseberry? Send us your gooseberry questions any time on Instagram @Fruitstandcom or join our FruitStand Group on Facebook!

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