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When Are Gooseberries Ripe ? Can You Eat Them Unripe ?

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There is a good chance that if you are reading this article, you have never had a gooseberry before. This is actually quite common because they are rare and not often carried at regular grocery stores.

Usually, you only find them at specialty grocery stores, from specialty farmers, or when they are in season. Because they are a more obscure fruit, it can be hard to figure out which ones are ripe and which one still needs some time before you eat them.

Do you knock on them like watermelon? Are they ripe when green like some grapes and apples? Or do you need to wait until they change colors completely?

gooseberry ripe

When are gooseberries ripe?

Gooseberries are ripe when in season, which is from late June to mid-July. A gooseberry is ripe when it reaches a size between 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in diameter, and just a little soft.

It will also turn a reddish-purple color when it is ripe, but there may be some spots left that are a translucent green color. When you touch a ripe gooseberry, it should still feel firm but yielding to the touch. If it is mushy, that means it has been too long, and it has become overripe.

Read also: Gooseberry VS Currant 

What is gooseberry?

If you are not even entirely sure what a gooseberry is, that is okay. They are not a particularly well-known fruit. You probably won’t just stumble upon them in your grocery store. However, suppose you do find a store that carries them. In that case, they are absolutely delicious and are packed full of lots of really great vitamins and minerals. The gooseberry looks a lot like a grape and is very closely related to currants.

What is the texture of a ripe gooseberry ?

Before they ripen, gooseberries tend to be very hard and not very juicy, but what is their texture once they are ripe? Well, when ripe, a gooseberry tends to be firm but yielding to the touch. Judges them just like grapes.

The skin on the gooseberry is firm, but don’t let that fool you. It is very thin (like a grape or cherry tomato), so you can still pierce through it easily whether you are using your teeth, a knife, or a fork.

cut gooseberries

The texture on the inside is also very similar to cherry tomatoes. It is juicy, pulpy, and soft, which is part of why you do not want to get mushy gooseberries. They go from firm to complete mush relatively quickly.

Additionally, gooseberries have hard seeds, but they are not so hard that you cannot eat them. If you do not want to do so, of course, you can spit it out like you would a cherry pit, but they are safe for you to chew without risking your teeth and safe for you to digest. It is really up to personal preference whether or not you eat them.

Can you eat unripe gooseberries?

You may have heard that unripened gooseberries are poisonous. While some fruits are not good to eat before they are ripe, gooseberries at any stage are perfectly safe to eat. One of the things people use unripe, rather than ripe, gooseberries for is jam.

There are two main reasons for that. First of all, unripe gooseberries have much higher concentrations of pectin. That is a substance found in many fruits and vegetables that thickens and hold jam together. In things like jams and jelly, pectin is what creates the gel-like texture.

Second, unripe gooseberries have a more sour flavor and are much less sweet, creating a pleasant balance with the sweetness of the sugar or sweetener that you add-in.

unripe gooseberries

Ripe vs unripe gooseberry

When a gooseberry is ripe, it actually has a very similar flavor to a grape, only it is much sourer. Because of that, many people also say that it tastes similar to a lemon. However, do not let that make you apprehensive. While it does have a sour aspect to it, other flavors and sweetness balance it out. The combination of sharp and zesty and sweet makes gooseberry an absolutely delicious and really unique flavor.

On the other hand, most people who say they do not like gooseberries have probably never had a ripe one. Unripe gooseberries are sour and do not have a whole lot of the sweetness to balance it out.

Even so, that does not mean there are no uses for unripe gooseberries. In things like jams or baked goods, getting gooseberries that have not gotten fully ripe can be good as the sharper sour balances out the sugar you add to the treat.

Read Also:Gooseberries VS Ground Cherries

How to store gooseberries

So once you manage to find a store that carries gooseberries and pick out ripe ones, how do you store them so that they do not get overripe?

Well, if you are going to eat them right away, you do have the option to just leave them out on your counter or table, but only if you are going to eat them right away. On your counter/at room temperature, you can expect them to last you a day or two, but if you want to keep them fresh any longer than that, you need to try one of the other storage methods. ‘

The second method is freezing your gooseberries. When you freeze gooseberries, they will stay ripe for up to six months. There are two main methods that you can use to freeze your gooseberries. One, you can lay them out on a tray and freeze them flat before putting them in a container. Two, you can put them in the container, cover them in simple syrup, and then freeze them.

The third method that you can use is canning. If you can your gooseberries, you will be able to keep them fresh for up to a year, as long as the seal stays tightly shut. If you are hoping to buy gooseberries when they are in season and then use them all you, canning them is really your best bet.

In short, even if you end up buying underripe gooseberries there are still uses for them. Unlike avocados and bananas, gooseberries will not ripen as they sit on the counter. If anything, they begin to spoil after a few days.


We found out when is the gooseberry season and how to know when they are ripe. Also, many people ask if it is safe to eat unripe gooseberry and the answer is yes, however the taste and texture will not be good so better check first if they are ready to eat.

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