Care of Amy Symington
What the hey is a gooseberry?
It is none other than a tart, tangy type of fruit that luckily for us, inhabits our great province. It is often bitter in taste and has a grape-like size, flavour, and texture, with only a slightly more fibrous mouthfeel. In terms of taste, some say it’s what you would get if a grape met a kiwi and well, the rest is gooseberry history. There are various colours and kinds depending upon your locale on the old globe. Focusing on the North American types you are most likely to find either a red or green variety. These include:
The Pixwell gooseberry, which is a variety that produces round, 1/2” berries. They are light green in colour and if permitted will mature to a soft pink.
The Welcome gooseberry also yield 1/2” berries, but are a variety that produces a much sweeter and darker red fruit than the Pixwell. They are much more astringent in flavour than the green variety. Both are tasty.
Speaking of tasty…
Gooseberries are well known for their use in desserts like tarts, pies, crumbles or crisps. Gooseberries are often preserved by drying, jamming, pickling or storing in a simple syrup. They are used for flavouring carbonated bevies, water and fruit wines and have been known to make the odd appearance in your tea pot as well. The less bitter berries go best on salads, as garnish to a yummy summer cocktail or all by their little lonesome. The more bitter berries are great in sauces, jams and in baked goodies. Just remember to remove the stems prior to using and/or eating.
And they’re nutritious to boot!
Gooseberries are a good source of Vitamin A, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre and Vitamin C. 150 grams of this gem of a fruit is 70% of your daily Vitamin C intake as well as 5.25 grams of fibre! Not to mention, it is rich in anti-oxidants and helps to regulate those sometimes crazy-out-of-control, blood sugar levels. Gooseberries are in season in Ontario in the wonderful summer months of July and August and you should try them.