I’m sure you’re wondering how this next berry was named. From what I could find out, most scholars feel that the name came from the Dutch word Kruisbes or the German name Krausbeere. It was most likely changed over time, with “gooseberry” finally sticking. But even today it is called or known by other names. For example, in France it is called groseille a macqueraux which translated means ‘mackerel berries’. In Holland , however, it is called Kruisbezie, and in Norway you’ll hear reference to “stikkelsbær” — or “prickly berry”. Whatever you call it or however you pronounce it, it’s still a funny name for an interesting berry and has nothing to do with a goose.
Gooseberries are actually derived from two species: the European gooseberry and the American gooseberry. The European species is native to Caucasus Mountains and North Africa, whereas the American species is native to northeastern and north-central United States and a few adjacent portions of Canada. You will find the gooseberry in other parts of Europe, Southeast Asia, and well into the Himalayas and portions of India.
The gooseberry is a berry with many minute seeds at the center. It may be green, white (gray-green), yellow, or shades of red from pink to purple to almost black, so there is a wide variety in its coloring, how it looks.
Gooseberry bushes are usually three to ten feet tall, produce tart edible fruit, and are closely related to currants. Historically, this berry is mentioned in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History and the Romans enjoyed this particular fruit as well.
Insects are always potentially damaging to berries or other fruits, and gooseberries are no exception. The magpie moth caterpillar is the enemy to the gooseberry because it will lay its eggs on fallen gooseberry leaves.
Gooseberries are often an ingredient in desserts such as pies but they are preserved in jams, served as dried fruit, and even made into fruit wines and teas. They can also be used in flavoring sodas.
Perhaps you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy this interesting berry in a jam or pie or drink sometime soon.