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Gooseberry (Ribes Grossularia)
The thorny gooseberry bush grows wild in many parts of Northern Europe, but it's thought to have originated in the more mountainous regions of North Africa. It's possible that many 'wild' specimens are cultivated escapees. They have certainly been cultivated in England since the mid 13th century, as it's known that Edward 1 was fond of them.
The fruit is slightly hairy, and generally green when ripe - although red, yellow and white varieties exist.
Small fruit are considered to be the best, but all must have their tufted 'top' removed before being cooked - as they are too sour to be eaten raw in any quantity. So they need added sugar, after which they make good desserts, such as 'gooseberry fool' or 'crumble', as well as the aforementioned savoury sauce.
They are sometimes called catberries, but the 'Chinese gooseberry' (kiwi fruit)and the 'Cape gooseberry' (Physalis) are in no way related. See our Recipe Section