Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Edible Wild Plants/Gooseberry

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Gooseberry


Description: The gooseberry is a straggling bush growing to 1-3 meters (3-10 feet) tall, the branches being thickly set with sharp spines, standing out singly or in diverging tufts of two or three from the bases of the short spurs or lateral leaf shoots. The bell-shaped flowers are produced, singly or in pairs, from the groups of rounded, deeply-crenated 3 or 5 lobed leaves. The fruit of wild gooseberries is smaller than in the cultivated varieties, but is often of good flavour; it is generally hairy, but in one variety smooth, constituting the R. uva-crispa of writers; berries' colour is usually green, but there are red variants and occasionally deep purple berries occur.

Where found: The gooseberry is indigenous in Europe and western Asia, growing naturally in alpine thickets and rocky woods in the lower country, from France eastward, well into the Himalayas and peninsular India. It is a non-native species occurring throughout most of North America.

Use: Gooseberries are best known for their use in desserts such as Gooseberry Fool and Gooseberry Crumble. In some countries, like Portugal, gooseberries are very appreciated as a beverage, being mostly used mixed with soda, water or even milk. They can be eaten raw, though many species should be cooked down to soften the spines. They are also commonly used in making jelly.
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