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Gooseberry facts


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The Forgotten Fruit

Egton Bridge

Gooseberry Show

Gooseberry Facts

Gooseberry shows were once popular all over the North of England, but declined after the First World War, dwindling from about 170 to only 20.

Now there are only two of these original societies left, one in Cheshire and the Egton Bridge Show where official records go back to 1800.


After many years of reducing show numbers we are pleased to welcome the residents of Skillinge in Sweden to the gooseberry show fold.  The Skillinge Gooseberry Show, The Krusbärsfestival, is held at the end of July or start of August.

Gooseberry Shows

There's real ritual involved in setting up the scales, bought in 1937 and accurate enough to weigh a feather. The society uses the Avoirdupois system of grains and drams (27.34 grains to one dram, 16 drams to an ounce and 16 ounces to the pound).

The Scales

If a husband and wife compete, they need to keep their plants in separate pens.

Matrimonial Competition

Gordon Ramsay serves gooseberry sauce with duck, but it also goes with mackerel or herring - both very popular choices in Victorian times.

Celebrity Chefs

An average portion contains about a quarter of the daily Vitamin C requirement.   One serving of 100g raw gooseberries contains 40 kcals (calories).

Good for you?

The phrase "to play gooseberry" comes from the days when the fruit was a euphemism for the devil.

One ancient belief tells how fairies would shelter from danger in the pickly bushes. This is how gooseberries became known as fayberries.

Playing Gooseberry

The bushes can cope with cold weather down to –35°C / -31°F.

Feeling the cold?

The love of gooseberries is not confined to England.  Here is a Dutch website dedicated to the humble “kruisbessen”.  News of Bryan’s world record has made it to the Netherlands.

Gooseberries in Europe

The Latin name for the Gooseberry is

Ribes uva-crispa.


Bushes can fruit for at least twenty years and produce fruits that are classed as being red, yellow, green or white.


The Gooseberry has been crossed with the Blackcurrent to produce the Jostaberry.


The Gooseberry should not be confused with the Chinese Gooseberry (Kiwi Fruit), the Barbados Gooseberry (which is a cactus) or the Indian Gooseberry (which is a tree that produces an edible fruit).

The Gooseberry

Image source wikimedia commons

Copyright © Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society.  All rights reserved

Image source wikimedia commons

Image source wikimedia commons

The results for single berries often look confusing to the uninitiated (and sometimes to much more long standing members!) so here is an explanation of just how the results are worked out.   It is important to remember that the Society rules on single berries state that:


“a member is only allowed one prize in this section, taken by his (sic)  heaviest winning berry (regardless of prize status)”


Follow this link to an explanation of how the results are worked out

How are the results worked out?