Gooseberries

The gooseberry is a species of Ribes, which also includes the currants.  It is native to Europe, northwestern Africa, west, south and southeast Asia.  Gooseberry bushes produce an edible fruit and are grown on both a commercial and domestic basis.  The species is also sparingly naturalized in scattered locations in North America.

The gooseberry is a straggling bush growing to 1.5 metres (5 feet) in height and width, the branches being thickly set with sharp spines, standing out singly or in diverging tufts of two or three from the bases of the short spurs or lateral leaf shoots.  The bell-shaped flowers are produced, singly or in pairs, from the groups of rounded, deeply crenated 3 or 5 lobed leaves.  The fruit are berries, smaller in wild gooseberries than the cultivated varieties, but often of good flavour.  The colour of the berries is usually green, but there are red (to purple), yellow, and white variants.

Gooseberries are edible and can be eaten as-is, or used as an ingredient in desserts, such as pies, fools and crumbles. Early pickings are generally sour and more appropriate for culinary use. They are also used to flavour beverages such as sodas, flavoured waters, or milk, and can be made into fruit wines and teas. Gooseberries can be preserved in the form of jams, dried fruit, or as the primary or a secondary ingredient in pickling, or stored in sugar syrup.

In a 100 gram serving, gooseberries provide 44 Calories and are an excellent source of vitamin C.  No other nutrients are in significant content (table). Gooseberries are 88% water, 10% carbohydrates, and less than 1% each of protein and fat.

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