Gooseberry: Plant profile
Gooseberry, European gooseberry, Goosegog, Groseille à maquereau
Ribes uva-crispa (syn. Ribes grossularia)
Native to Europe, the Caucasus and northern Africa. Fairly common in the UK and Ireland, except in the highest mountainous areas.
Where to find Gooseberries
Hedgerows, wood margins, riversides and abandoned places.
When to find Gooseberries
Berries early to mid summer.
How to identify Gooseberry
Gooseberry is a small shrub growing to 1.2 m. Leaves are lobed with deeply toothed edges and palmate veins. The flower appear singularly or in pairs from the base of the leaves and are a pale green to cream in colour. The fruit can be green, yellow, red or purple, usually with fine hairs.
The leaves of Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.) are quite similar to those of Gooseberry, but the fruit is completely different.
All about Gooseberry
The gooseberry is a straggling bush thickly set with sharp spines. Early summer, the discreet bell-shaped flowers turn into juicy green berries, which are sought after by the forager.
Gooseberries found in the wild are generally naturalised from bird-sown garden varieties and grown as escapees from cultivation, but the species is most considered native.
Medicinal properties of Gooseberries
Gooseberries are a rich source of vitamin C.
Culinary uses and recipes with Gooseberries
Gooseberries taste a bit like sharp grapes and pair very well with elderflower and fennel.
They may vary in size, ripeness and sweetness. The sweetest ones are best eaten straight from the bush, while tart or unripe ones can be made into sauce, which goes well with oily fish. Make desserts and puddings, such as gooseberry fool, sweet pie or crumble and preserves such as jam or jelly.
Gooseberries are also used to make drinks, such as flavoured vodka and country wine.
Safe foraging of Gooseberries
Take care that spines on the bush do not damage your fingers when you pick the berries.
The fresh leaves contain hydrogen cyanide and should not be consumed in large quantities.
Ecological importance of Gooseberry
Gooseberry provides a food source for pollinators