Updated on 26. May. 2021

Gooseberries are a much beloved Eastern European fruit that make for a delicious and nutritious addition to your summertime pantry. Learn more on this unique berry below!

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  • ...are a good source of vitamin C.
    100 grams of gooseberries covers about a third of your daily requirement of this immune-boosting vitamin.
  • ...keep the body's fluids in optimal balance.
    Gooseberries are a good source of potassium, a mineral which helps support an ideal fluid balance and helps the body eliminate excess water.
  • ...are good for the intestines.
    Gooseberries contain not only healthy acids (malic, tartaric and citric acid) but also plenty of pectin. This soluble fiber stimulates digestion and promotes a healthy intestinal flora.
  • ...can help lower cholesterol levels.
    Gooseberries are rich in pectin, a heart-healthy fiber which binds bile acids in the intestines. In order to form new bile acids, the body then uses cholesterol from the blood, thus dropping cholesterol levels.
  • ...are easier on the stomach when ripe.
    Unripe or not quite ripe gooseberries contain a lot of acid which can irritate sensitive stomachs. The rule of thumb is, the riper and redder the gooseberry, the sweeter and more digestible it becomes.
  • ...can cause stomach aches.
    If you have a sensitive stomach or intestines, gooseberries might not be for you, as they can be difficult to digest. Before you write them off completely though, try steaming gooseberries very briefly until the skin becomes soft before eating. This trick can often make them easier on the stomach.

What You Should Know About Gooseberries

Gooseberries are extremely popular in some European countries, especially Germany, although they've yet to take off in the United States. These yummy berries have a flavor all their own, with a distinct sour, almost lemony flavor that finishes with a hint of sweetness. Gooseberries grow in bushes and are characterized by their fuzzy exterior.


Gooseberries originate in North Africa and Eurasia. Today however, they're most closely assocaited with German and Eastern European cuisine. 


Gooseberries begin their harvest in May, and are available on market shelves from June through mid to late August. 


While gooseberries have a reputation for being sour, this isn't precisely true. Ripe gooseberries are actually very sweet, with a sugar content similar to grapes. The more ripe and red the gooseberry, the sweeter it is. 


There are about 500 varieties of gooseberries worldwide, most of which are grown in the UK. Gooseberries can be divided into three main varieties: green-white, yellow and red. Their soft, juicy flesh contains countless small seeds that you can eat.

Our Favorite Gooseberry Recipes

Find all our gooseberry recipes here.

How Healthy are Gooseberries?

While it would be an exaggeration to call gooseberries medicinal, in reality these nutrient-packed berries aren't far from it. Especially for the intestines, gooseberries provide a ton of beneficial nutrients, including pectin, mucilage and a rich content of minerals such as tartaric, malic and citric acid, which are all great for digestion.

Gooseberries also contain the minerals potassium, calcium and phosphorus, as well as various vitamins. Gooseberries' vitamin C content is particularly high: depending on the degree of ripeness and variety, gooseberries can contain between 20 and 70 milligrams of this immune-boosting vitamin.

As healthy as gooseberries are, they can irritate sensitive stomachs. If you have digestive or stomach issues, make sure to find the ripest, most red gooseberries available, as they are much easier on the stomach. You can also brieftly steam gooseberries before consuming, which will make them easier to digest. 

Calories 44
Protein 0.8 g
Fat 0.2 g
Carbohydrates 8.5 g
Fiber 3 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips 


If you want fully ripe gooseberries, it is best to follow the rule of thumb: the bigger and more red, the sweeter. Gooseberries are generally sold loose by weight as well or in shells or chip baskets. If you have the choice buy loose gooseberries, as you can make sure the berries' skin is unbruised and the berries look plump.  


Unripe gooseberries can be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks, while fully ripe gooseberries are better consumed within three to four days, even when stored in the refrigerator.


Gooseberries do not take much work - just wash and let them drain!

What to Make With Gooseberries.

Fully ripe fresh gooseberries are tasty enough to be eaten raw. A small bowl of the fresh berries makes a delicious, refreshing and colorful accompaniement to an antipasto lunch, or as a simple dessert in the summertime.

Gooseberries are also delicious in a variety of desserts, especially in tarts and cakes. Most classic of all is gooseberry jam, a delicious European staple that allows you to enjoy the gooseberry's unique flavor all year round. Check out EAT SMARTER's simple recipe for making your own gooseberry jam.

Gooseberries also have a firm place in the sweet summer kitchen, where you can use them to prepare delicacies such as compote, pie, cakes and tarts. Gooseberries are also traditionally used in preserves and canning, and because of their high pectin content, jams and jellies gel particularly well and easily.

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