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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Gooseberry - 'Ribes uva-crispa ' - fam: Grossulariaceae

The Gooseberry, with scientific names Ribes uva-crispa (and syn. Ribes grossularia), is a species of Ribes (which also includes the currants).

It is native to Europe, northwestern Africa, west, south and southeast Asia. Gooseberry bushes produce an edible fruit and are grown on both a commercial and domestic basis. The species is also sparingly naturalized in scattered locations in North America. 1 Interestingly, this one berry comes in varying shades of yellow, green, red, or black, and can be round, oval, pear-shaped, or elongated. There can be tart and sweet berries on one bush, each containing a plethora of miniscule, edible seeds. Gooseberries thrive in changing seasons involving frigid winters and humid summers, and they're more shade-tolerant than other fruits.

They're tart. They're wild. Despite these facts, the little gooseberry is quite underutilized in the culinary world. Gooseberries offer a piquant flavor that's still a favorite in England for jams, jellies, juice.

Rich in antioxidant polyphenols, vitamins, and other beneficial nutrients, gooseberries can vary in colour, flavour, and shape, but all come with many tiny, edible seeds. They also come with 26 percent of the daily recommended value in vitamin C - 20 times that of oranges! A wide array of other vitamins and minerals, plus protein and omega-3 fatty acids, makes this little berry exceptionally nutritious.

Able to defend the body against infection, gooseberries are said to produce insulin, strengthen heart muscles, slow aging, protect the eyes, improve the skin, and prevent hair loss. Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, uses it for many cures, but clinical studies reveal gooseberries to have true nutritional benefits. The one gram of fat? That's unsaturated. 2

One particular varietal, the Cape Gooseberry, Physalis peruviana, is grown in Australia. It is a straggling bush up to 1m tall that bears yellow fruits inside a brown papery envelope. It is perennial.

The Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds and plants can be easily spread around the garden.

The berry is the size of a cherry tomato, is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds. They are delicious eaten fresh or can be made into jam. They can be added to salads, desserts and cooked dishes, they are delicious stewed with other fruit, especially apples. They also go well in savoury dishes with meat or seafood. Can be preserved dried.

REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1 Foodfacts by Mercola 2 Gardenate 3


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