Gooseberries derive their name from their traditional use to make a sauce to accompany goose. The tart flavour of the berry compensates for the natural fattiness of goose meat. Gooseberries are native to Europe and North Africa and have been cultivated for centuries. They are low in energy because they contain very little sugar. Gooseberries have a reasonable dietary fibre content and contain useful amounts of Vitamin C. They are useful as a low calorie fruit dessert for slimmers or diabetics who must limit their intake of sugars. However, because of their bitter taste, they must be sweetened with either sugar or an artificial sweetener in liquid or granule form, added after cooking.
|Nutrient||Raw Dessert||Stewed (No Sugar) Cooking|
Preparing and Using
Look for smaller green berries when making acidic jams and riper, darker berries, which have fuller flavour, for desserts. Gooseberries should always be firm and dry, with a rich sheen and uniform colour (if the green berries in jam or in a tart look red, they are overcooked). Their skin can be fuzzy or smooth, translucent or opaque.
You can use gooseberries much as you would currants. Eat them fresh with sugar, or use them in pies, flans, jams, jellies, chutneys, sorbets,puddings, or the popular Gooseberry Fool.Gooseberries are often used as garnishes for meat and fish dishes, as well. Before eating or cooking, snip off the tiny stems and tops – a technique called “topping and tailing” – with a pair of kitchen shears.
The French call the gooseberry groseille à maquereau, which means “currant for mackerel,” because they often serve mackerel with a gooseberry-based sauce. Gooseberry sauce also goes well with tuna, salmon, trout,swordfish and pork as well as goose.
Ripe sweet gooseberries can be made into drinks. Gooseberry chutneys and relishes go well with oriental foods and spices.