Gooseberries, which are also called northern grapes, as well as agrus, are a high-yielding crop, famous for its high taste and many useful properties.
In the summer, common gooseberries are in great demand among adults and children, but not everyone knows that in addition to benefits, a sweet berry with sour notes can be harmful, especially if consumed uncontrollably. The article tells about the benefits of gooseberries, how it affects the health of adults and children, how to plant and care for the plant, and what gooseberry dishes can be prepared using simple products available in the kitchen of every housewife.
In this article:
A bit of gooseberry history
The common gooseberry is grown on the territory of the western hemisphere of the earth, starting from China, ending with the Caucasus, North Africa, California. Since the 17th century, shrubs have been actively grown in Russia and other European countries. The plant enjoyed unprecedented popularity among residents of European countries. It was consumed fresh, prepared various desserts, drinks that benefit the body.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the plant was affected by a disease called spheroteka. This disease was brought from America. People who did not know what kind of attack it was and how to deal with it lost almost all varieties. The few that survived and those created by selective breeding gave life to modern varieties.
Breeders from America worked hard on breeding new varieties of gooseberries. They managed to obtain a plant hybrid characterized by increased resistance to powdery mildew, which is the main enemy of the culture. Today, the plant is cultivated in almost every country.
Every housewife knows the beneficial properties of gooseberries, so various dishes and drinks are prepared on its basis:
- gooseberry jam, which is called royal;
- compotes, juices, fruit drinks;
- sauces for meat and fish dishes;
- salads, etc.
The berry is ideal for filling in pies, dumplings, casseroles.
Varieties differ not only in taste, but also in color, fruit size, ripening time, and the presence or absence of thorns. An interesting fact is that there is a mention of gooseberries in chronicles dating back to the times of Kievan Rus. Shrubs were actively grown by the monks in the monastery gardens, and on the basis of berries and leaves, medicinal drinks were prepared that had a diuretic, choleretic and laxative effect.
Gooseberry is a perennial shrub. The plant belongs to the botanical gooseberry family, the genus Grossularia. The bush reaches a height and crown diameter of a maximum of 1 — 1.5 m. The ground part of the plant consists of branches of different ages and basal shoots.
On the branches of most plant varieties there are sharp thorns, which are:
- triples, etc.
Some varieties have thorns on each branch to the very top. Sometimes there are few thorns on the upper part of annual shoots or they are completely absent. There are also varieties that differ in a small number of thorns.
Gooseberries are a round, oval, ovoid or pear-shaped berry, the gelatinous shell of which contains many seeds. The color of the fruit may also differ depending on the variety. The most common shades:
- light green;
- dark green;
- Dark red;
- dark purple;
The shrub grows and gives high yields in almost all types of soil. However, the plant does not tolerate strong thickening and shading. In the shade, the bushes not only develop poorly, but also lose their resistance to pests and diseases. Berries ripen unevenly, their quality deteriorates significantly.
The composition and calorie content of gooseberries
100 grams of berries contain approximately 41 — 44 kcal:
- proteins — 0.7 g (~ 3 kcal);
- fats 0.2 g (~ 2 kcal);
- carbohydrates 9.1 g (~ 36 kcal).
Therefore, fruits can be safely included in the menu for people who control their body weight. Gooseberry dishes are also low-calorie, but on the condition that sugar is not added during cooking. The composition of the berries contains vitamin A, C, E, B, PP.
The berries contain a large amount of minerals:
The pulp is rich in such components:
- organic acids: citric, malic;
Planting gooseberries in open ground
A person who has his own plot strives to grow as many useful plants as possible on it. On the territory of our country, the common gooseberry is one of the most common shrubs that grows in almost every garden.
Planting shrubs is possible both in spring and autumn. Gardeners are advised to give preference to late planting, since in spring it is difficult to have time to carry out all the preparatory manipulations before the soil warms up and budding begins. If the buds have already woken up and the soil has dried up, it will be much more difficult for a young plant to take root. Therefore, in the fall it is easier to have time to do everything before frost, because after planting the bushes will already take on young roots, thanks to which the plant will survive the winter without any problems.
Other benefits of autumn planting:
- Large selection of seedlings. In autumn, nurseries offer customers a large selection of seedlings for every taste and budget. Therefore, finding the right variety and healthy plants will be easy. But for the spring there is everything that was not sold in the autumn period.
- Lots of free time. At the time of planting, almost all garden work will be completed, so you can slowly prepare a pit, seedlings. There is no need to rush to complete something else, as is always the case in spring.
- Ideal conditions for adaptation. In autumn, the air and soil temperatures are low, and moisture is also often sufficient. All processes in the aerial part of the bush slow down, so resources are redirected to the formation of new roots. Thanks to this feature, after the autumn planting, almost all plants take root successfully.
- Bushes are easy to care for. Since there is more moisture in the soil in autumn than in spring, it is enough to water the plant once every 2 weeks. This is the whole care in the autumn.
What time to plant
In different regions, weather conditions are different, so the timing of spring planting in each region is different. In southern latitudes, preparatory and landing work can be started in mid-March — early April. In the middle lane, it is better to plant a plant in open ground in early April, because in March the soil has not yet warmed up enough. In cold regions, gooseberries are planted no earlier than the end of April — the beginning of May.
Gooseberry is a cold-resistant plant, the root system begins to function actively already at a temperature of +1…+3 °C. Based on these data, it is necessary to choose the optimal landing date.
If the plant is planted in the fall, it does not require any care. It is enough to water it no more than 1 time in 2 — 3 weeks, and then on condition that the soil is dry due to a long absence of precipitation. If frost is predicted after planting, you need to cover the plant using improvised materials:
- polyethylene film;
- the cloth;
- agrofibre, etc.
From spring, it is important to provide proper care, on which not only development, but also productivity, resistance to diseases and pests directly depend. Spring care does not require a lot of time and effort. The basic rules to create the most comfortable conditions for the growth and development of gooseberries:
- After each season, the bushes need to be cut. Pruning involves the removal of excess shoots, as well as thinning. In the spring, sanitary pruning is mandatory, during which all frozen, damaged and dead shoots after wintering are removed.
- Apply fertilizer 1 — 2 times a season. For feeding, use organic or ready-made mineral fertilizers, introducing into the near-stem circle. After that, the surface must be carefully loosened.
- In early spring, pour boiling water over the shoots, and then carry out preventive treatment from pests and diseases.
- Overgrown bushes must be divided and planted, if this is not done, the yield will suffer.
- Inspect the plant at least once every two weeks. This will help to detect the disease or pests in time and eliminate them until the bush is badly damaged.
Gooseberry care involves periodic loosening of the soil and removal of weeds. After the plant grows, the need for this will disappear. If precipitation falls according to the norms, the plant does not need watering, however, in dry weather, it is advisable to pour 2–3 buckets of water at least 1 time in two weeks. In cold regions, it is advisable to wrap gooseberries for the winter so that the plant does not die from critically low temperatures.
There are 2 main groups of gooseberry varieties:
- American-European hybrids;
There are other criteria for determining the variety:
- color and shape of fruits;
- maturation time;
- the presence or absence of spikes.
The best varieties are:
- “Black Negus”;
- “Lights of Krasnograd”;
- “Russian yellow”;
- “White Triumph”;
Popular varieties with sweet pulp:
- “Northern Captain”;
- “Donetsk large-fruited”.
Late and mid-season:
Gooseberries, the variety of which is medium early:
The leaves of the plant, on the basis of which decoctions and infusions are prepared, are characterized by medicinal properties and a tonic effect. Young leaves are rich in useful acids such as:
The composition also includes retinol, vitamins of group B, E, tannins.
Gooseberry leaves, used to make medicinal drinks, bring great benefits to the human body:
- strengthening the immune defense;
- normalization of blood circulation;
- improvement of vascular patency;
- diuretic and choleretic effect;
- an increase in hemoglobin levels.
When to Harvest Gooseberries
Gooseberries must be harvested after all the fruits on it are fully ripe. Ripening time depends on the conditions of a particular region:
- In the southern regions, berries begin to ripen by early June.
- In the north, the harvest is harvested at the end of August.
- In the central part of the country, the fruits are ready for consumption in mid-August.
How to collect
The most common harvesting method is manual. It is considered safe for soft fruits, since when harvested by hand, their mechanical damage is minimal.
Another commonly used harvesting method is the use of a vibrator. In this case, the person must support the branch with his hand and walk along it with a vibrator. The main disadvantage of this method is that when using a vibrator, all the berries fall off, even those that are not yet ripe.
The third cleaning option is to use a comb that is worn on the thumb. With one hand, you need to lift it vertically with a branch, and with the other, on which the comb is fixed, carefully run along the stalks. Thus, the berries will quickly crumble into a container and be minimally injured.
Keeping gooseberries fresh for the winter is problematic, because the berries are not able to maintain their presentation and high taste for a long time. If you arrange the fruits in containers and place in the refrigerator, the maximum shelf life will be up to 4 weeks. To keep the product until winter and enjoy it in cold weather, you can put it in the freezer. The shelf life of frozen berries is 4–6 months. You can also prepare canned compote from gooseberries, jam, preserves, the shelf life of which is also relatively long — up to 6 months.
Benefits for the body
Gooseberries, whose benefits for the body are very large, can be included in the menu by both adults and children. The beneficial effect of ripe fruits is as follows:
Strengthening blood vessels and improving the functioning of the cardiovascular system as a whole.
- Normalization of blood pressure.
- Lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Recovery of the body after stress and psycho-emotional overload.
- Immunity boost.
- Acceleration of the digestion process by stimulating peristalsis.
- Improving the production and outflow of bile.
- Elimination of intestinal disorders — diarrhea or chronic constipation.
- Acceleration of recovery in inflammatory processes.
- Normalization of metabolism and functions of the hematopoietic system.
A similar effect on the human body has freshly squeezed gooseberry juice, which can be freely replaced by berries.
It is useful for older men to consume fresh gooseberries, as they have a stimulating, tonic effect. By diversifying the diet with gooseberry fruits, it will be possible to achieve the following results:
- significantly reduce the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke;
- improve blood circulation, due to which regenerative processes are activated at the cellular level;
- increase the body’s immunity and resistance to viral and infectious diseases;
- normalize hormonal levels;
- strengthen the nervous system.
Gooseberries, which are low in calories compared to other types of berries, are useful to include in the diet of women who are watching their weight or are in the process of reducing it.
However, dietary properties are not the only benefits of fruits for the female body. Regular consumption of berries at any age contributes to:
- stabilization of the hormonal background;
- reduction of pathological symptoms that develop in menopause;
- normalization of the central nervous system;
- getting rid of depression;
- improving the general condition of the body;
- strengthening the protective function;
- increasing resistance to the negative impact of external factors;
- an increase in hemoglobin levels, which is especially important during the period of bearing a child;
- strengthening hair and nails;
- cancer prevention.
It is also desirable to include this fruit in the diet of women who have a menstrual cycle. With regular use, menstruation stabilizes, proceeds more calmly, without such unpleasant symptoms as abdominal pain, impaired general well-being, weakness, drowsiness.
A child who is 7 months old can already try gooseberry puree, jam or juice as a first complementary food. The berry is allergenic, so it must be introduced into the diet carefully and gradually. Ripe fruits will help to saturate the children’s body with useful vitamins and microelements, strengthening the immune system and increasing resistance to seasonal acute respiratory infections and acute respiratory viral infections.
Other beneficial properties of gooseberries for a child’s body:
- improved metabolism;
- normalization of weight;
- reducing the risk of developing dermatological diseases;
- increased immunity;
- strengthening the nervous system;
- improvement of brain activity;
- prevention of iron deficiency anemia.
Contraindications to the use of gooseberries
The fruits of northern grapes are forbidden to be used by people who have been diagnosed with such diseases and disorders:
- individual intolerance;
- peptic ulcer in the acute stage;
- decompensated diabetes mellitus.
Therefore, gooseberries, the benefits and harms of which are incomparable, are recommended to be added to the diet of people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases only after consulting a gastroenterologist. This will help prevent the exacerbation of the disease and prevent the development of complications.
Harm to the body
People suffering from diseases of the digestive system should use gooseberries with extreme caution, as they increase acidity and exacerbate pathologies such as:
- stomach and duodenal ulcer;
It is not recommended to exceed the allowable daily dose of 100 grams, otherwise the risk of developing uncontrolled diarrhea and dehydration increases. If an adult or child has a tendency to food allergies, gooseberries can also be harmful, provoking an acute allergic reaction. With diabetes, it is also forbidden to abuse berries, since exceeding the daily dose can provoke a sharp jump in blood sugar.
Gooseberry in cosmetology
Agrus fruits are actively used in cosmetology. On the basis of ripe berries, masks and lotions are prepared that have a whitening and cleansing effect.
Green berry puree can be used at home to make vitamin and moisturizing masks. Berries that have been frozen do not lose their beneficial properties. With their help, you can get rid of dark circles and bags under the eyes, tone the skin, make it more elastic. To do this, let the berries thaw a little, and then apply to the problem area for 5 to 10 minutes.
Masks, lotions, tonics based on berries and gooseberry leaves are ideal for any type of skin, even problematic. Regularly using the selected tool, you will be able to get rid of such defects as:
- acne, acne;
- uneven color and microrelief;
- stand up;
- dark spots;
- enlarged pores.
What to cook from gooseberries
In the season when there are a lot of berries on the bush, you can make gooseberry compote. The drink has a tonic, tonic effect. The recipe for classic agrus compote is simple:
- Sort the berries, removing spoiled fruits, twigs, and other debris. It is advisable to remove the stalks.
- Rinse under running water and let drain.
- Boil water, add sugar to taste and boil for 1–2 minutes.
- Pour the gooseberries into the boiling sweet liquid and leave to simmer for 5–10 minutes.
- Then remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and let it brew until it cools completely.
- Drink chilled drink
The following recipe will help prepare gooseberries for the winter:
- Sort ripe berries, rinse well under running water.
- Put the main ingredient in a blender bowl and add sugar in a ratio of 1:1.
- Beat sugar and gooseberries until a puree-like consistency is formed.
- Put the resulting mass in glass jars, cover with an airtight lid, store in the refrigerator.
Gooseberries, the recipe for which is simple and affordable, can be added to the dough for desserts. Delicious and tender are obtained:
- biscuits, etc.
Agrus jam prepared according to this recipe brings benefits to the body:
- Prepare the ingredients: gooseberries — 600 g, sugar — 500 g.
- Sort the berries, remove debris, cut off the tails on both sides, rinse under running water.
- Transfer the gooseberries to a saucepan, add sugar, mix and refrigerate for 3–4 hours.
- Put the container with the contents on a slow fire, boil.
- Boil jam on fire for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, let cool.
- Put the pot back on the stove, bring to a boil and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Repeat the same steps for the third time.
- Arrange the hot jam in sterilized jars, roll up the lids and leave to cool in a warm place.