When are gooseberries in season?

What Does A Gooseberry Taste Like? All About Gooseberries

Ribes uva-crispa or the gooseberry is a native fruit found in Europe, north western Africa, west, south and Southeast Asia. Uva-crispa means “curved grape” in specific epithet. The gooseberry bush produces an edible fruit that are grown commercially and domestically. This article will discuss how gooseberry tastes like and some additional information about gooseberries.

What Does A Gooseberry Taste Like? All About Gooseberries

The Taste Of Gooseberries

The flavour of gooseberries varies depending on where they are grown and some other factors. In general, they have similar flavours to grapes, apples and strawberries. The flavours range from sour to a little bit sweet. It has a juicier texture compared to a blueberry.

The skin tastes a little grassy and very sour. In some countries they call it the sour grape. Europeans have developed different varieties that are quite good. They are most commonly used as the basis for gooseberry pie or to make gooseberry jam or jelly. The juice can be extracted to make a refreshing beverage. If the fruit is dried, it can make a good tasty snack.

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Do you know plantains can be made a tasty snack too? Click What Does Plantain Taste Like and learn how to make this snack.

The Types Of Gooseberries

1. True Gooseberries

True gooseberries have spines and currants which are spineless. This type of gooseberries do well it humid summers and cold winters climates. Summer heat can damage gooseberries because plants need protection from the harsh afternoon sun.

2. European Types

They’re native to North Africa and the Caucasus Mountains. They are larger and more flavourful than the American types of gooseberries. Often used for culinary purposes. European types of gooseberries have the average length of around 1 inch and can be as large as small plums.

3. American Types

These types of gooseberries are native to North-eastern United States. They are more prolific and more resistant to disease compared to the European type of berries. It was bred to survive warmer regions such as those found in the Mediterranean climates.

4. Others

These are gooseberries that do not fall under the horticultural classification of true berries. Like the cape gooseberries (Physalis spp.) or golden berry and Chinese gooseberries (Actinidia spp.) or kiwifruit plants.

We inform you another juicy fruit at What Does Papaya Taste Like? Click the link to explore this popular tropical fruit.

The Fruits And Its Characteristics

Gooseberries are small, round to oval berries of European Origin. It is a straggling bush being able to grow to 1.5 meters or 5 feet in height and width. It features sharp thorns all along its woody branches. They are closely related to currants, these berries are packed with pigment antioxidant, polyphenolics and vitamins.

The plant begins to fruit after 2 to 3 years of being planted. They can come in different colours, shapes and taste. They come in green, white, yellow, purple, red-brown or black. Gooseberries can be round, oval, pear-shaped or elongated in shape.

The seed may contain 15 to 30 tiny seeds which are edible. A gooseberry can measure 1 to 2cm in width and 4g to 10g in weight.

We suggest you exploring another kind of fruit that can comes out in all shapes and sizes, click What Does Mango Taste Like to find out.

Benefits Of Gooseberries

  • They are low in calories. A 100g of fresh berries have only 44 calories.
  • Contains high amounts of phenolic phytochemicals like flavones and anthocyanin. These compounds have health benefiting effects against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
  • Excellent source of vitamin C. 27.7μg of vitamin C is found in every 100 grams of fresh berries. It helps human body develop immunity against diseases.
  • Fresh gooseberries contain small amounts of essential vitamins. It includes vitamins like pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates and thiamin (vitamin B-1)· Gooseberries carry small amounts of Vitamin A, which is known to protect lungs and oral cavity cancers. Vitamin A is essential for visual cycle and integrity of mucosa and skin.
  • Gooseberries also contain moderate amounts of minerals such as copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
  • Helps in calcium absorption, an essential component in our bones, teeth and nails. Eating gooseberries can keep your body looking great.
  • Gooseberries are high in fiber making it a good help with digestion of food. Thus making our bowel movements regular. Also reducing the chances of constipation and reduce Diarrhea.

Another good for health fruit is guava, if you’re interested in finding out about this fruit, please go to What Does Guava Taste Like.

When To Harvest Gooseberries

There are several colours of gooseberries and determining whether it is ripe or not can be a problem. The best way to tell if the gooseberries are ripe is to squeeze them gently. They should not be hard and have a little give when being squeezed.

When making jams or jellies, it is best to pick out those who are hard and unripe because they are more suited to canning than ripe berries.

Have you ever wonder What Does Eggplant Taste Like? Click the link and inform yourself about this cousin of potatoes and tomatoes.

In Conclusion

The taste of gooseberries ranges from being sour to a little bit sweet depending on the type being consumed. In some countries it is called the sour grape. They are commonly used for pies and jams. Gooseberries come in different size, shapes and colour. These berries are closely related to currants, thus containing pigment antioxidant, polyphenolics and vitamins.

Considering our obsession with berries, it’s hard to believe that there are still quite a few out there that I’ve never tried. This week, I had my first encounter with a gooseberry: a fruit smaller than a blueberry with a round-meets-oblong shape (similar to that of a green grape) and a fuzzy, veiny, green apple-colored exterior. Because of their tart character, they’re best when cooked down with sugar to make cobblers, crumbles, pies, tarts, and jams. I couldn’t ignore my intrigue and impulsively picked up a carton to experiment with at home. My initial observations of the fruit, when you keep reading.

I did a quick search and learned that there are hundreds of varieties of gooseberries, which can range in color from yellow to red to pink to green to purple.

On a broad level, gooseberries can be divided into red and green categories. Green are more common and have a milder flavor while red have a higher level of sugar and are better for eating out of hand.


Although ripe gooseberries are hard to come by, both red and green types darken in color as they mature, taking on a boozy, Muscat grape-like flavor. When they are consumed raw and unripe, gooseberries taste like sour grapes. In North America, gooseberries are in season from May to August, and they are at their peak ripening during the month of July. Before cooking with them, be sure to pull or cut off the stems and tails attached on both ends. Here were a few creative uses I came across:

  • Pair gooseberries with our berry du jour, blueberries, to make a fine jam.
  • Fashion a creamy, sour curd with under-ripe green gooseberries instead of lemons.
  • If you’ve had enough of blueberry pie, then make a gooseberry adaptation instead.
  • Prepare the gooseberry fool, a classic English whipped cream dessert.
  • Simmer with sugar and an elderflower cordial to make a relish perfect for pairing with pork roast.

A few days have passed, and I’ve yet to decide how to make the most of my carton. I’m open to any suggestions! To those of you who’ve encountered gooseberries: How do you cook with them?

The gooseberry is a funny thing. Often hairy and a little tart, it has fallen out of favour in recent years, as home cooks favour brighter crumble contenders, such as raspberries and blackcurrants. This is a shame. With a little love and imagination, gooseberries can make delicious additions to both sweet and savoury dishes.

Take a look at our gooseberry collection for more sensational seasonal recipe inspiration.

Getting prepped

Rinse the gooseberries thoroughly in cold water before top and tailing the ends with scissors. Most recipe ideas use gooseberry compote, a mixture of gooseberries and sugar reduced down with a splash of water till soft and pulpy. Gooseberries vary wildly in sweetness, so the ratio really depends on personal taste. Start with two parts gooseberry to one part sugar and adapt to suit your palate.

Once this is done, you can get creative with all manner of dishes from chutneys to drinks. Here are our top recipe tips…


Gooseberries pair well with elderflower. Try adding a spoonful of the compote to elderflower cordial with a little fresh ginger for a refreshing summer drink.

Try our… Gooseberry & mint lemonade


Once you’ve created your compote, try spreading a spoonful along with cream as an alternative filling to Victoria sponge, a delicious topping to party buns or the perfect accompaniment to ginger scones.

Try our… Gooseberry & coconut cake


Gooseberries make a great addition to summer sundaes. Try layering your compote with cream or yogurt and your favourite ice cream, or mix with elderflower for a show-stopping summer fool.

Try our… Gooseberry fool


Create a lovely gooseberry sorbet by mixing gooseberry compote with water or elderflower cordial, then freezing and churning or passing it through an ice cream maker, like any sorbet mix.

Try our… Gooseberry, elderflower & Sauvignon sorbet


Fancy desserts have their place, but the humble crumble is hard to beat. Treat the family to a comforting gooseberry cobbler or rustle up a gooseberry traybake, perfect with a cup of tea.

Try our… Gooseberry flapjack crumble

Pastries and pies

Gooseberry pie is an easy way to sign off Sunday lunch, but try getting creative with puff pastry too. Layer up baked pastry sheets with gooseberry compote and custard for a speedy pudding that’ll wow the crowds. Our mini goose-bump Bakewell pies are also deliciously crumbly, sweet and simple to make, or try our gooseberry & custard pies for a taste of summer combined with delicate, smooth vanilla custard – an instant win.

Try our… Patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie

Savoury sauces and salads

Gooseberries aren’t just great for desserts – they work equally well as part of a savoury main meal. Pair with mackerel for a Yorkshire classic, or partner with other oily fish, like salmon, alongside seasonal greens. Or try gooseberries combined with Asian flavours like soy, chilli and fish sauce to achieve a hot and sour taste. Try combining grilled mackerel with our easy gooseberry ketchup for your next dinner party.

Try our… Asian barbecue pork salad with gooseberry dressing


Add a little gooseberry sparkle to meringues with this gooseberry meringue tart recipe, or give a Pavlova a makeover by swapping the strawberries for gooseberry and elderflower cream.

Try our… Mini brown sugar meringues with gooseberry compote & cream


As they have a tantalisingly short season, there are few better ways to use a large crop of gooseberries than in a preserve. Set aside an afternoon in the kitchen, and get creative with additional ingredients (we like vanilla). Don’t miss our gooseberry & camomile jam – the sharpness of the fruit is perfectly balanced by the calming floral undertones.

Try our… Gooseberry & vanilla jam


Gooseberry cordial is a lovely daytime drink, and you can give it an evening outing by switching the cordial for alcoholic fizz. Try adding the compote to prosecco with ginger, straining the liquid then adding sugar to taste. Fancy making your own spirits at home? Try our elderflower & gooseberry vodka for a fruity and fragrant infusion. It’s delicious served with lemonade or tonic water.

Try our… Gooseberry & elderflower fizz


Finally, add it to the cheeseboard. Gooseberry compote tastes delicious with brie and camembert, and will give goat’s cheese an even more feisty kick.

Still not inspired? Visit our gooseberry recipe collection for more ideas…

A note on buying gooseberries

Just like dessert and cooking apples, there are dessert and cooking gooseberries, with varying levels of sweetness within.

Cooking berries

Try sourcing ‘Invicta’ gooseberries – the very thorny shrubs are loaded with tart, green berries tucked away in the middle of the plant. Other cooking varieties you’re likely to find are ‘Greenfinch’, which boast smooth green fruit, and ‘Careless’, which can be picked for cooking early in the season, as soon as they’re big enough. We’d leave anything smaller than a grape, as they’ll involve too much topping and tailing. The younger and greener the berry, the more sugar you’ll need to counter its sharpness.

Dessert berries

Enjoyed these recipes? Try our other summer showstoppers…

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Let us know your top tips for cooking gooseberries and the best way to serve this under-appreciated fruit.

How to grow gooseberries


The plump fruits of a gooseberry bush are delicious cooked in pies or swirled into sweetened cream to make a fool. They’re easy to grow, and just a single bush will reward you with masses of berries for up to 15 years.

Advertisement Eat within a few days of picking or store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Growing gooseberries through the year

Planting a bare-root gooseberry bush

How to plant gooseberries

Gooseberries aren’t fussy when it comes to soil type, but they do prefer it to be well drained and contain plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost. Full sun is best, especially for dessert types, but they’re very tolerant of shade.

Spring or autumn is the best time to plant bare-root gooseberries. Space them 1.5m apart with a gap of 1.5m between the rows.

Gooseberries grow well in large containers of soil-based compost. Mulch the surface to keep weeds at bay.

Pruning a gooseberry bush

Looking after gooseberry bushes

Feed bushes in early spring with sulphate of potash (follow packet instructions) and a generous mulch of well-rotted manure or compost. Water well during dry spells.

Pruning is easy. In July or August, simply cut back this season’s soft growth to two or three leaves from the base. To prevent mildew, keep the centre of the bush open.

Although usually grown as bushes, gooseberries can also be trained as single upright stems or ‘cordons’, as well as fans on walls or fences. This makes the fruit easier to pick from the thorny stems.

Picking ripe gooseberries

Harvesting gooseberries

Most gooseberries are ready to pick in July or August, but to ensure good-sized berries, thin out the bunches of fruit in June when the fruits are the size of a pea. These thinnings make wonderfully tart stewed fruit.

Gooseberry storage

Eat within a few days of picking or store them in the fridge for up to two weeks. Gooseberries freeze well.

Gooseberries: preparation and uses

Dessert varieties are delicious in fresh fruit salads. Ideally, you should pick and eat the berries on the same day. Gooseberries can be cooked in pies or stewed to make purées, jams and chutneys. Simply, top and tail them before cooking.

Sawfly larvae devouring a leaf

Gooseberries: problem solving

Net bushes when fruit starts to ripen to protect them from birds.

Gooseberry plants are susceptible to mildew. Choose resistant varieties and avoid planting in shallow, dry soil. Cut out affected shoots.

From mid-spring, look out for gooseberry sawfly larvae, which will quickly strip a bush. Pick off and squish or use a biological control.

Watch this Quick Tips video on why fruits may fall off a gooseberry plant.


Space-saving gooseberries

Fancy growing gooseberries but don’t have much room? Then train them in a fan shape against a wall, fence or free-standing trellis.

Rosy ripe gooseberries

Best space-saving gooseberry varieties to grow

  • ‘Careless’ – large fruits that turn transparent when ripe
  • ‘Invicta’ – green cooker, big crops, mildew resistant
  • ‘Leveller’ – yellow dessert variety with delicious flavour
  • ‘Pax’ – sweet, red berries on almost spine-free stems
  • ‘Whinham’s Industry’ – red dessert, large sweet berries, shade-tolerant and copes with heavy soil
  • ‘Whitesmith’ – a dessert/cooker with white fruits

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