European types of gooseberries being cultivated include Invicta, and Hinnonmaki. The European varieties Clark and Fredonia are recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) for general planting.
One-half cup of fresh gooseberries contains 34 calories; the berry is high in Vitamin C and contains potassium, Vitamins B1, B2 and A.
European gooseberries likely originated in mountainous areas of northern Europe, while American varieties grew in the eastern part of this continent.
The fruit is best loved by the English, Scandinavians and Germans.
Buying and storing
Picking can be a painful and tedious business because of the plant's spiky, spiny stems. Mechanized harvesting is a relatively recent development, not in common use in Ontario.
Gooseberries are best when bought close to the source to ensure freshness, so it's a good idea to know your supplier.
Look for berries that are firm and not wrinkled, clear and bright in colour.
They can be stored successfully, unwashed, dry and lightly covered, for several days in a refrigerator.
The larger, dark berries make excellent jellies.
They can be combined with horseradish to make a good sauce for smoked mackerel, or added to a bread stuffing for goose or any oily fish.
Gooseberries can substitute for tomatoes in osso bucco, the Milanese dish of braised veal shanks.
Small green berries are highly prized in England for their flavour in two-crust pies and boiled puddings.