General info about Fruit
The Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa (syn. R. grossularia) is a species of Ribes, native to Europe, northwestern Africa and southwestern Asia. It is one of several similar species in the subgenus Grossularia; for the other related species (e.g. North American Gooseberry Ribes hirtellum), see the genus page Ribes.
Although usually placed as a subgenus within Ribes, a few taxonomists treat Grossularia as a separate genus, but since hybrids between gooseberry and blackcurrant (e.g. the Jostaberry) can be cultivated, this seems inappropriate. The subgenus Grossularia differs somewhat from currants, chiefly in their spiny stems, and in that their flowers grow one to three together on short stems, not in racemes.
How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit
The fruit is smaller than in the garden kinds, but is often of good flavour; it is generally hairy, but in one variety smooth, constituting the R. uva-crispa of writers; the colour is usually green, but plants are occasionally met with having deep purple berries.
Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.
Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is often picked when under-ripe and very firm, it has a very tart flavour at this time and is mainly used in making pies, jams etc. However, if the fruit is allowed to remain on the plant until it is fully ripe and soft it becomes quite sweet and is delicious for eating out of hand. The fruit of the wild species is often less than 1cm in diameter, but named cultivars have considerably larger fruits up to 3cm in diameter. Leaves- raw. The young and tender leaves can be eaten in salads. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit
Astringent; Laxative; Miscellany.
The fruit is laxative. Stewed unripe gooseberries are used as a spring tonic to cleanse the system. The leaves have been used in the treatment of gravel. An infusion taken before the monthly periods is said to be a useful tonic for growing girls. The leaves contain tannin and have been used as an astringent to treat dysentery and wounds.
The fruit pulp is used cosmetically in face-masks for its cleansing effect on greasy skins.
Other fruits called gooseberries
As well as the other species in the subgenus Grossularia, two other unrelated plants are sometimes termed ‘gooseberry’.
The fruit called the “Cape gooseberry” is produced by the species Physalis peruviana in the family Solanaceae, native to the Andes.
The fruit called the “Chinese gooseberry”, now more commonly known as Kiwifruit, is produced by the species Actinidia deliciosa, in the family Actinidiaceae. As its name implies, it was originally cultivated in China, but was taken to New Zealand, where cultivars were selected, and the fruit renamed Kiwifruit. These are now grown in many areas, and marketed worldwide under that name - though the older name is sometimes still seen in Australia.
The “Indian gooseberry” is produced by the species Phyllanthus emblica.
Species: R. uva-crispa