Gooseberry FAQs

nick musica
Published Nov 02, 2020. Read time: 1 minute

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.

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 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. When they’re unripened, gooseberries taste like a tart, sour grape. As the fruit matures, gooseberries keep their bright sourness as the flavor develops into a refreshing, sour melon taste. Unripened gooseberries are often cooked to bring out their sweetness.

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.

Gooseberries, depending on the variety, vary in color from bright to deep green, red to deep red and even dark purple.

Gooseberries can be used in all kinds of sweet and savory dishes as well as countless beverages, including cocktails. These little fruits aren’t fussy and can be eaten straight from the shrub.

To prepare fresh gooseberries to be used in recipes, you’ll first need to “top and tail” them. This cute colloquialism means to explain the removal of the hard stem and nub found at either end of the fruit.

Yes, the tiny seeds found in gooseberries are edible.

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.

These tart berries are delicious and loaded with nutrition. Gooseberries are relatively low in calories, high in fiber and vitamin C, and offer other important vitamins and minerals.

Gooseberry Nutrition (100g) 

  • Calories: 44
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Calcium: 25mg
  • Magnesium: 10 mg
  • Phosphorus: 27 mg
  • Potassium: 198 mg
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Vitamin C: 28 mg

For more nutritional information about gooseberries, visit the USDA Food Central.

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

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.

Like bananas, the flavor of a gooseberry changes significantly as it ripens. Gooseberries can be consumed in their less-than-ripe form when they have a bitter, sour grape flavor. Unripened gooseberries are often cooked to bring out their sweetness.

In comparison to other berries like strawberries, blueberries and grapes, ripened gooseberries have a predominantly tart, sour flavor with a hint of sweetness.

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. Gooseberries are well suited for things like jams, candies, salads, food pairings, etc. Say whether it’s good for groups, parties, sweet or savory recipes etc.

The fresh and sweetly sour flavor of gooseberries is delicious in all kinds of drinks. Gooseberries can be made into a basic syrup to be added to beverages like cocktails, teas and soda. They can be muddled and sliced into your favorite drink recipes where sour and crisp freshness fit the bill.

Gooseberries have a short shelf life and will stay fresher for longer when stored in the refrigerator. Simply place them in a sealed container or food-safe bag to keep them crisp and delicious for about a week.

It’s easy to freeze fresh gooseberries, too. First, remove any remaining stems. Then, spread the gooseberries out on a cookie sheet fitted with wax paper, ensuring there’s space between each little fruit. This will ensure that your gooseberries freeze without sticking together or bruising one another. Once frozen, place the gooseberries in a freezer safe container or bag and use them within three months.

Nope. This is one strange fruit that you’ll only be able to share with your human friends. Gooseberries are known to be potentially toxic to pups and should be kept out of their reach. As always, your FruitStand fam encourages you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch.

Whole gooseberries are unlikely to leave any marks on clothing, but the sweet insides can cause a stain. The flesh is watery and light colored, which can leave a mark that looks permanently wet. Spot treat any drips or drops with laundry detergent to prevent a stain.

If gooseberry gets on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, it can leave a mark. First, treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.

Gooseberries can look a lot like grapes at first blush. They are similarly round to somewhat oblong in shape. Both gooseberries and grapes come in a similar range of colors that spans from bright green to deep red and purple. Inside, the fruit is watery, crisp and refreshing. Plus, both are considered botanical berries!

These two berries vary considerably in flavor. The flavor of gooseberry is described as melon-like and more astringent and sour than grapes, which are loved for being sweet and juicy. Gooseberries boast a distinctive stripe pattern on their thin skin, that separates them visually from grapes as well.

Gooseberries grow a lot like tomatoes; in small clusters on bushy trees from individual flowers. Grapes, however, grow in their iconic clusters from vining branches.

If gooseberry spoils, it may smell a bit foul. First, discard or compost the spoiled gooseberries, then clean the area where it was stored with hot, soapy water. To prevent smells from fruit in the future, place a fresh box of baking soda wherever you store food.


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