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How can you tell when Gooseberries are ripe?


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  • How can you tell when Gooseberries are ripe?

    I've given then the 'soft centre test', and whereas they are no longer like bullets, they didn't squish either.

    I've not grown/picked them before, and as I recall they are tart little beggars at the best of times!

    So how can you tell?

  • #2
    Squeeze gently between thumb and forefinger. If hard = unripe.
    If they burst, you have pressed too hard - or over-ripe.
    Soft ish = ripe,


    • #3
      Right - thank you for that - I'll go and have a squeeze!


      • #4
        Try tasting one, if your eyes dont curl up they are ripe. However I have some ripe "pax" gooseberries and they are almost grape like in sweetness.
        Last edited by pigletwillie; 04-07-2007, 08:31 PM.


        • #5
          I inherited a gooseberry bush and the first year it was too late for fruit and due to the flaming pigeons never saw a ripe gooseberry last year.
          This year, determined to get some fruit made a cage for it and the berries are ripening now, but are they gooseberries...
          They go black when very ripe and taste just like blackcurrants, they start green, get a blush, then go a dark pinky colour then black which is too soft so have been picking them at the pinky magenta stage.
          Now I come to think of it the bush has no prickles (a good gardener or what?)
          so is it a jostaberry or a worcesterberry do you think?
          Its a very old bush but still productive, about 5ft tall. I'm very fond of it as it's the only thing that will grow in the waterlogged corner of the allotment


          • #6
            Gooseberries are funny things. Most varieties are too tart for anything except cooking. I had a couple of bushes on the lottie when I took it over, no idea what variety and no fruit first year. This year they didn't look well but did produce fruit. However nothing special so I've decided they're coming out when it's actually dry enough to get over there and start digging.


            • #7
              You didn't tell me.....

              Right, I'm cross now.

              I had always been under the impression that gooseberrys were sharp little buggers which needed a ton of sugar to stop your mouth shrinking to the size of a drawing pin, an opinion backed up by next door giving me a big bowl full from their garden a couple of years ago which didn't half wake you up.

              I've been a bit doubtful, then, about the bushes at the Hill, and hence the q about when they are ripe.

              Armed with the advise from madasafish, I went to the Hill and noticed tonight that they are going a sort of purply colour and now have a bit of 'give' in them, so I picked off just 3 and bought them home with a stack of veg. Gave 'em a wash and with trepidation bit into one.


              It was SO FABULOUS that I cannot tell you - SWEET, JUICY fruit about the size of a big gobstopper. I wish I'd had picked a bowl full just to have in the fruit bowl I could eat them like sweeties!

              SO have I been 'had' all these years, or are these not actually gooseberries......


              • #8
                God gave gooseberries for where grapes wont grow, or so goes the saying Hazel, as I mentioned in my earlier post my pax are soooo sweet, almost grape like. However, even when ripe the invicta can be a tad sharp.

                If you like sweet goosgogs buy desert varieties like pax.


                • #9
                  I believe that most of the dessert varieties are a red / purple colour. It's the green ones that make your lips curl !

                  British by birth
                  Scottish by the Grace of God



                  • #10
                    I've yet to try the other 3 or 4 bushes - I may be after you for cuttings in the winter, PW, if they are not as good as the ones I had tonight!


                    • #11
                      I shall strike some anyway Hazel.


                      • #12
                        Thank you for asking this question Hazel, as I keep looking at mine and wondering if I should be picking them. This is their first year and they are all in pots. Got three varieties, an early, middle and late. The Invicta look a little small and bullet like and I tried one and thankfully no-one was around - cor it was tart!

                        As this is teh first year I assume I won't get much of a harveset, so presumably I'll just let them grow a bit longer yet. I think my late one is a red one.
                        Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway.
                        ~ Mary Kay Ash


                        • #13
                          Isn't it funny that one fruit can be so VASTLY different in taste?! Why does anyone grow the sharp green ones?

                          Supplementary q - if you make Earthbabe's gooseberry chutney with the sweet desert gooseberries, won't it taste vastly different than if made with the tart ones? And if so, will it taste better or worse?

                          Has anyone done chutney with both sorts?


                          • #14
                            The sharp ones make a fantastic gooseberry sauce for oily fish. They also make great pies, crumbles, tarts etc. The bush I inherited has its bulk taken off for cooking but the big ones left for dessert. It works - but you need to get at these before Wendy does (Our tame blackbird!)

                            PS - another gooseberry saying - 'It's only the hairs on a gooseberry that stop it from being a grape.' They make brilliant dry white wines.
                            Last edited by Flummery; 05-07-2007, 02:20 PM. Reason: To add the PS
                            Whoever plants a garden believes in the future.

                   Updated March 9th - Spring


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Flummery View Post
                              The sharp ones make a fantastic gooseberry sauce for oily fish.
                              Hmm...I do like mackeral! What do you do, just boil 'em up for a bit ... or should I go find a recipe? (Hint!)


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