There are approximately fifty species of gooseberries in the Northern Hemisphere. The greatest number are found in North America. The gooseberry is native to Europe, Western Asia, and northern Africa.
Gooseberries were cultivated in home gardens in the Low Countries of Europe from the beginning of the sixteenth century. The English brought the European gooseberry to a high stage of cultivation. Enthusiasm for this fruit is reflected in gooseberry shows given yearly to encourage development of better varieties. In 1629 there were descriptions of three red varieties, one blue, and one green. By 1831 there was a published list of 722 varieties. It is believed that the gooseberry was brought from England in 1629 by the Massachusetts Bay Colonists. However, because of the humid eastern summers, the gooseberry is subject to mildew, and thrives best in the Pacific coast regions. Because the gooseberry plants attract a fungus that attacks the white pine, federal and state laws regulate interstate shipments of gooseberries and the areas in which they may be grown.
Some people say that the origin of the name gooseberry stems from the fact that it is often served with goose. Another belief is that it got its name from the Dutch "kruisbes," meaning "crossberry." Although the English enjoy uncooked ripe gooseberries, Americans enjoy them more in pies, tarts, jams, jellies, conserves, preserves, and marmalades. Gooseberries also are used in spiced dishes, and are often combined with other fruits. Also, the juice from gooseberries can be used alone or combined with other fruit juices.
Benefits of GooseberryGooseberries are considered to be good for the liver and intestinal tract. They develop an alkaline ash when digested. Gooseberries are watery, and have a high potassium and sodium content. When cooking them, date sugar is best for sweetening, or honey can be added after cooking.
Nutrients in one pound
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