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Gooseberries Picking Tips

Gooseberry Picking Tips, Recipes and Informationgreen gooseberries

If you are about to pick Gooseberries either directly from a tree, or from a local orchard or market, here's what you need to know to pick the best Gooseberries.

Gooseberries are a fairly early crop, flowering soon after the last frosts in April and May, setting fruit in June, usually at the same time as strawberries in most areas (but check your area's harvest calendar and call the farm or orchard you are planning to go to a few weeks ahead).

Gooseberry picking tips

Here are tips and instructions on how to pick Gooseberries:


  • Timing is Key: Gooseberries are typically ready for picking in the summer, usually from June to July, depending on the variety and your location.
  • Always check with the farm before you go; conditions can change dramatically from day to day.


  • Use Clean Hands: Make sure your hands are clean before you start picking to avoid transferring dirt or contaminants to the berries.
  • Bring Containers: Use shallow containers, baskets, or colanders to collect the berries. This prevents them from being crushed under their own weight. .

How to Choose and Pick GooseberriesGooseberry bush thorns

  • Look for Color and Size: Choose gooseberries that are fully ripe and have reached their full color. The color varies depending on the variety and can range from green to red or even purple.
  • Test for Ripeness: Gently squeeze the gooseberries. Ripe ones should be slightly soft to the touch but not mushy. They should give a little when pressed.
  • Be Gentle with Berries: Gooseberries are delicate and can bruise easily. Handle them with care to maintain their quality.
  • Avoid Underripe Berries: Leave berries that are hard and unyielding on the bush, as they are not yet ripe.
  • Check the Softness: Be cautious of berries that are overly soft, as they might be overripe and prone to bruising.
  • Mind the Thorns: Gooseberry bushes can have thorns, so wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms while picking.
  • Use Gentle Pressure: Hold the gooseberry gently between your thumb and forefinger, and twist it slightly to detach it from the stem.
  • Harvest Clusters: Gooseberries often grow in clusters. You can pick entire clusters by gently holding the branch and detaching the whole group at once.
  • Inspect for Pests: While picking, keep an eye out for any pests that might be hiding in the foliage or on the berries.
  • Avoid Removing Leaves: Try to avoid pulling off leaves or damaging the bush while picking. Leaves provide energy to the plant.

After Harvesting

  • Cool: Get them into the shade as soon as possible.
  • Separate Unripe and Ripe Berries: As you pick, separate underripe berries from ripe ones to ensure even ripening and better quality.
  • Store Properly: After picking, gently transfer the gooseberries into shallow containers or bags. Store them in the refrigerator as soon as possible to maintain freshness.
  • - *

Before you leave to go to the farm:

  1. Always call before you go to the farm - Gooseberries are affected by weather (especially rain and cooler temperatures) more than most crops. And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first! Always call before you go to the farm - Gooseberries are affected by weather (especially rain and cooler temperatures) more than most crops. And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
  2. Leave early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
  3. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for Gooseberries, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring containers.
    If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Gooseberries more than 3 inches deep will smush the lower Gooseberries. Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large pots make good containers. I like the Glad storage containers like the one at right.
  4. Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.

When you get home

  1. DON'T wash the Gooseberries until you are ready to use them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
  2. Keep them cool: Temperatures between 34 F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze Gooseberries! (Fresh Gooseberries are highly prone to freeze damage).
  3. Sort again: Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting Gooseberries
  4. Freeze: Gooseberries can also be frozen for longer storage.
  5. Use Quickly: Gooseberries have a relatively short shelf life. Plan to use or preserve them within a few days of picking.
  6. Consider Usage: Gooseberries can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, such as jams, pies, sauces, and even pickles
  7. Use or freeze quickly: Even under ideal conditions Gooseberries will only keep for a week or two in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, consume or freeze them as soon as possible after purchase.
  8. See my How to freeze berries page. (Unless you're going to make jam right away)
  9. Now, get ready to make Gooseberries jam - It is VERY easy

Gooseberries Recipes, Canning, Jam, Jelly, and related resources

Gooseberries varietiesred gooseberries

See this page for a description of each type of Gooseberry


It's important to note that gooseberry varieties can have a wide range of flavors and characteristics, and the descriptions above are generalizations. The flavor and attributes of gooseberries can be influenced by factors such as growing conditions, climate, and specific cultivars.