Gooseberry Varieties

Gooseberry Varieties

Read an introduction to gooseberry varieties here.

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About Gooseberry Varieties

Gooseberries have a reputation for being sour and best used in cooking. This does not reflect the large range of gooseberry varieties and sweetness levels that are available. Whilst it is true that some gooseberries, especially green varieties, have a tart taste, there are many varieties that are almost as sweet as grapes but with a distinctive gooseberry character and flavour. For all gooseberries, the best flavour is found when the fruit is allowed to fully mature on the plant.

There are three common colours of gooseberries: purple or red gooseberries, yellow gooseberries, and green gooseberries. On my allotment I grow three varieties, each with their own character and each one I love dearly – they are worth every centimetre of growing space.

Gooseberry Careless produces big green / yellow fruit in very large quantities. It has grown extremely well. In its first year, I only had a handful of fruit as the bush took root (and I learned that I needed to use nets against birds). The following year the plant produced huge quantities of fruit, that also kept well on the bush, allowing my family time to eat our way through the harvest.

The gooseberry Hinnonmaki Yellow plant looks ugly, is low growing, and has thorns designed to protect Sleeping Beauty ever being found by her prince.

The fruit looks tiny and unappealing, the ones you would leave behind at the supermarket as being too small, in favour of larger greener varieties. The truth is that the fruit is simply delicious, exploding with sweetness in your mouth, and a perfect example of why I think gooseberries are one of the best kept secrets on the allotment.

Even better still, this bush throws off branches similar to how strawberry plants throw off runners, burying themselves in the soil and making it very easy (once established) to cut free the new baby bushes from the parent plant. Simply lovely.

The third is a red gooseberry, called Whinham’s Industry. This is an upright gooseberry plant that produces large amounts of delicious red gooseberries almost dripping off the branches.

With all gooseberries varieties, I have found using a net to be essential, both to keep birds away and a hungry squirrel.