Gooseberry Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Gooseberries annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

Gooseberries are beautiful, juicy, and sour. Although gooseberries look like grapes, they are more closely related to currants. If you've never had a gooseberry, you may be wondering whether they're worth trying. Gooseberries are loaded with fiber and vitamins, making them a highly nutritious choice.

Gooseberry Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (150g) of raw gooseberries.

  • Calories: 66
  • Fat: 0.9g
  • Sodium: 1.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 6.5g
  • Sugars: n/a
  • Protein: 1.3g

Carbs

One cup of raw gooseberries contains 15 grams of carbohydrate and an ample dose of fiber (6.5 grams). Gooseberries have a low glycemic index of around 35. Adding sugar or syrup during preservation or jam-making, however, can quickly increase the glycemic index of gooseberries.

Fats

Like many varieties of fresh fruit, gooseberries are extremely low in fat, with less than 1 gram of fat per cup.

Protein

Gooseberries are not a major source of protein, containing only 1.3 grams of protein per cup.

Vitamins and Minerals

Despite their low-calorie count, gooseberries pack in plenty of important vitamins and minerals. A 1-cup serving of raw gooseberries contains at least half of the inflammation-fighting vitamin C you need in an entire day.

Gooseberries also provide vitamin A and manganese. Much like other berries, the colorful pigments in gooseberry skins offer cell-protecting antioxidants.

Health Benefits

Research investigating berries, including gooseberries, suggests that they are among the most nutritious and health-promoting foods. Here are some of gooseberries' potential benefits.

Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

With 6.5 grams of fiber in 1 cup of raw gooseberries, it is clear that gooseberries are an excellent source of healthy fiber. Technically, all it takes is 2.5 grams of fiber per serving to designate a food as a "good source of fiber." Fiber intake is strongly associated with a reduced risk for heart disease, particularly soluble fiber (typically found in berries). Fiber, along with the potassium in gooseberries, can help prevent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

May Prevent Cancer

Gooseberries contain several phytochemicals with anticancer properties. For instance, quercetin, a flavonoid found in Indian gooseberries, induces autophagy (programmed death of mutated cells). Quercetin also inhibits the growth signals sent by cancer cells. Some of the tannins present in gooseberries, including ellagic acid, gallic acid, and chebulagic acid, provide strong antioxidant effects. Although there is not yet sufficient evidence on cancer treatment or prevention in human studies, further research is warranted.

Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

When it comes to diabetes prevention, food choices are crucial. Choosing foods that are naturally high in magnesium, like gooseberries, can help circumvent this common mineral deficiency and promote better glucose control. Furthermore, higher fasting blood sugars have been observed in those with low potassium intakes. The combination of 15 milligrams of magnesium and almost 300 milligrams of potassium per cup make gooseberries a great choice for anyone trying to ward off (or better manage) diabetes.

Protects Against Ulcers

Gooseberries have long been used by naturopathic physicians to calm stomach acid. Modern studies appear to support the Ayurvedic use of gooseberries to better balance stomach acid and treat dyspepsia. In rat studies, gooseberry extract has been shown to be protective against ulcers generated from excessive alcohol or aspirin use. Although more human studies are needed, this potential benefit of gooseberries comes with minimal risk.

Promotes Wound Healing

A cup of raw gooseberries provides about 42 milligrams of vitamin C, which is a significant portion of the 75–90 milligrams per day required for most adults. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and an essential precursor to collagen (necessary for skin integrity). For these reasons, vitamin C plays a crucial role in wound healing. In addition to vitamin C, the zinc and vitamin E in gooseberries also support the body's natural ability to repair itself.

Allergies

Gooseberries are not a common allergen, however, it is possible to develop allergies to any type of food. If you suspect an allergy to gooseberries, see your physician for a full evaluation. Reactions may happen immediately after contact with the offending food or several hours later. Common food allergy symptoms include stuffy nose, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, or wheezing.

Adverse Effects

Gooseberries' high fiber content can take a little while to get used to, especially if you don't normally eat a lot of fiber. Increase your intake gradually, drink plenty of water, and stay active to help your digestive system adjust and avoid gas and bloating.

Varieties

Gooseberries come in green, yellow, or reddish-purple varieties. Common cultivars are either American or European (or a mix of both). The Pixwell is an American cultivar that starts off green and ripens to purple. Hinnonmaki Red or Yellow cultivars have medium-sized green or red berries. Invicta is a European cultivar with large, bland fruit that is very popular. The Captivator is an American-European hybrid with tear-drop shaped red fruit.

Gooseberries can be found fresh or preserved. For preserved varieties like dried, canned, and gooseberry jam, check out online retailers, farmers' markets, or gourmet food stores.

When It's Best

Gooseberries start to ripen in June and July but it can take a bit longer before the berries drop and are ready to be picked. For fresh berries, look no further than the local farmers’ market in the warm weather months. Some vendors may also sell gooseberry pies and jams during the height of the season. It's important to note, however, that many gooseberry products contain added sugars (up to 12g sugar per tablespoon of gooseberry preserves).

You will occasionally find both fresh and canned gooseberries at your local grocery store, but since they are highly perishable, fresh gooseberries aren't always available. If purchasing canned gooseberries, note that many are canned in sugar syrup.

Storage and Food Safety

Store fresh gooseberries in the refrigerator for 1–2 weeks or try freezing them. For best results, remove stems, wash, and dry well. Place cleaned and dried gooseberries on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until hardened. Once gooseberries are frozen, transfer to resealable plastic bags (or another freezer-safe container) and store in the freezer for up to 2 years.

This method takes a little more time but will prevent the delicate berries from getting squashed and stuck together when freezing. Do not attempt to defrost frozen gooseberries before use. Simply add them to recipes that require them to be cooked, such as pie fillings, jams, and sauces, or enjoy frozen.

How to Prepare

To make gooseberry jam, you'll need 6 cups of gooseberries, 1 1/2 cups of water, and 4 cups of sugar. Wash the berries, and bring them to a boil in a saucepan with water. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the berries are soft. Remove 4 cups of simmered gooseberries to mix with the sugar. Boil for 7–9 minutes.

The finished jam can be stored in sterilized canning jars, processed in a boiling water bath.

For a decadent treat, make the classic dessert called a “fool” by gently folding thickened gooseberry sauce with freshly whipped cream. Top with shaved chocolate or crushed graham cracker crumbs. For a more savory spin, cook down gooseberries with fresh thyme, freshly cracked black pepper, minced garlic, and a splash of vinegar.

Pair gooseberries with healthy fats, like nuts and seeds. Dried gooseberries are a little harder to find but available via many online retailers. Add to trail mix with almonds and pumpkin seeds.

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Article Sources
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