Gooseberries are small, round to oval berries of European origin. They grow in the wild all over the temperate climates of Europe, North America, and Siberia. Botanically, they related very closely to currants, and belong to the same family of Grossulariaceae, in the genus, Ribes. Packed with pigment antioxidant polyphenolics and vitamins, the berries come in different color, flavor, and shapes.
Scientific name: Ribes uva-crispa L.
|Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa L.)
Photo courtesy:John Haslam.
|Purple-red gooseberry shrub.
Photo courtesy: Rhian.
Gooseberries (R. uva-crispa L.) are one of the four wild Ribes species (R. alpinum L., R. rubrum L. and R. petraeum Wulf.) growing in the Northern Hemisphere. As in currants, gooseberry grows best in regions where summers are humid but winter is severe and chilling.
|Amla-Indian gooseberries (Phyllanthus emblica).|
|Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana).|
Gooseberry plant is a fast growing, small deciduous shrub growing about 4-6 ft in height, featuring sharp thorns all along its woody branches. The bush begins fruiting 2-3 years after plantation. Berries come in many shapes, colors, and taste. They can be round, oval, pear-shaped or elongated, green, white, yellow, purple, red-brown or black color, sweet and tart. Their outer surface can be smooth or fuzzy (hairy) with conspicuous veins. Inside, a berry may hold 15-30 tiny edible seeds. In general, the berries measure 1-2 cm in width and weigh about 4 g to 10 g.
Indian gooseberries, also known as amla in the subcontinent, belongs to a different family of Euphorbiaceae. Their scientific name is Phyllanthus emblica. Indian gooseberry features round to transversely spherical shape with light green color. Amla berries are exceptionally high in anti-oxidants and vitamin C. For the same reason, they are excessively acidic and bitter (astringent) in taste.
Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana), also known as Peruvian cherry in the US, is native to South American Andes region. The berries are small, round, orange-yellow in color, encased inside a Chinese lantern like papery thin husk.
Gooseberries are low in calories; 100 g of fresh berries hold just 44 calories. As in blackcurrants, they too have significantly high amounts of phenolic phytochemicals, especially flavones and anthocyanins. Both of these compounds have been found to have numerous health-benefiting effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
They moderately good in anti-oxidant values. At 3277 umol TE/100g, gooseberries have oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value, which can be comparable to that of red currants (3387umol TE/100g).
The berries are a moderate source of vitamin-C. 100 g of fresh berries provide 27.7 mcg or 46% of daily-recommended intake values of vitamin C. Research studies have shown that consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps body develop immunity against infectious agents, and help scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals from the body.
They carry a small amount of vitamin-A. 100 g berries has 290 IU or 10 % of RDA of this vitamin. Vitamin A is required for maintaining integrity of mucusa and skin and essential component of visual cycle. In addition, consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamins and flavonoid anti-oxidants has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh berries contain small amounts of essential vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), folates, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). Some of these vitamins are essential in the sense that the body requires them for metabolism from external sources to replenish.
Furthermore, gooseberries contain moderate levels of minerals such as copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Indian gooseberries (amla) are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. 100 g of amla carry astoundingly 445 mg of vitamin-C. However, their much of anti-oxidant properties come from other anti-oxidant compounds in them like tannins (emblicanin, punigluconin, pedunculagin etc).
|Fresh gooseberries in a market. Photo courtesy: janeyhenning.|
In the USA markets, fresh gooseberries and currants begin to appear by July. Buy fresh harvest, ripe, firm, bright colored berries for eating as table fruits or to use in desserts. Choose mature but unripe berries to make tart and to employ in cooking. Avoid berries that are excessively soft, shriveled, and with bruises with leaking juice.
If not used immediately, store them inside the refrigerator where they keep fresh for few days.
Gooseberries are one of the popular fruits all over the Great Britain. Berries handpicked form the wild can be consumed on their own.
Here are some serving tips:
Fresh, succulent, sweet gooseberries can be eaten all alone as table fruits/salads, especially some varieties like red-London, purple, early sulphur, etc.
Tart, astringent quality berries are favored in fish, poultry, and meat dishes.
They are used in agro-food industry to prepare jam, jellies, juice, sauce, chutney, etc.
The berries are also used in muffins, pie-fillings, and ice creams.
Allergy and intolerance to gooseberries is rare. They can be consumed safely in preegnancy. (Medical disclaimer).
<<-Back to Fruits from Gooseberries. Please visit here for complete list of delicious fruits with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts, medicinal properties, and health benefits.
<<-Back to Home page.
Visit here for very informative pages on:-
Research articles on nutrition.
2. Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.