Unless you are from Europe, you may have never come across gooseberries. They are about the size of a grape and are lip-puckering tart when eaten fresh. But this wonderful fruit is easy to grow in any temperate climate, and a single gooseberry plant produces more than enough gooseberries for a family. But how can you store gooseberries long term?
Did you know that gooseberries are packed with vitamins and minerals and are said to support brain health and improve cognitive function? This is only one of the health benefits of this powerful little fruit.
This article unravels the storage issues with gooseberries and lets you know how to keep them stored and fresh for the longest time possible. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with faction information to extend your culinary knowledge.
Let’s get into it.
Do gooseberries expire?
Yes, gooseberries, like any other berry, will expire and rot once they are ripe and harvested. But it is not all bad news. The gooseberry is a hardy little fellow and can last for a couple of weeks when it’s been washed and stored correctly in the fridge.
Unlike other ripe berries, gooseberries are not necessarily soft, depending on the variety. Gooseberries have tough skin compared to grapes and other berries.
Gooseberries are pretty distinctive and always retain the flower stem that can be picked off or eaten and a small piece of the stem where they are plucked from the plant. Again, it’s edible or can be removed.
Some gooseberries are even hairy! Don’t worry. You don’t need to shave them before eating.
The riper the gooseberry, the sweater it will be, but there is always that background tartness that cuts through the sugaring. Some people prefer to eat gooseberries rather than grapes, and it will depend on how sweet your tooth is.
After they have been harvested, they can simply be washed to remove any debris, stems removed if you wish, placed in a container to keep the little round balls of goddess together, and placed in a fridge.
Gooseberries make excellent jam which will preserve them for a couple of years. They are often used as a simple dessert and eaten with cream or custard. Gooseberries are also used in savory dishes and can be pickled, making a perfect side for fish and cheese boards.
Gooseberries are more versatile than you might have imagined.
Do gooseberries need to be refrigerated?
Fresh gooseberries from the garden or farmers market can sit out for a few days, maybe a week, and stay in good shape. But if you have more than enough gooseberries, you are advised to refrigerate them.
If you keep your harvested gooseberries in the fridge, they will last easily for two weeks and are a fantastic fruit to snack on throughout the day, given they have so many health benefits.
Cooked gooseberries can be stirred in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
Do gooseberries need to be covered?
Freshly harvested gooseberries stored in the fridge will not need to be covered. The skins are pretty tough, so they will not absorb any aromas that are in the fridge. Plus, they do not emit an odor to taint and foods stirred in the fridge.
Recipes incorporating gooseberries should be covered. It will help contain any bacteria and prevent the aroma from spreading to other foods.
Pickled gooseberries should be covered and stored correctly.
Can you put a warm gooseberry in the fridge?
It is not advisable.
If you read online that you can’t put a warm gooseberry in the fridge because of condensation coalescing into water droplets that will drip and make your gooseberry recipe watery and less appealing at best is why you can’t put the warm gooseberry in the fridge, you are being misled.
Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing a warm gooseberry in the fridge will elevate the fridge’s temperature while it radiates heat.
Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.
So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your gooseberry. It is the contents of the entire fridge.
Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.
Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.
Furthermore, the gooseberry should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!
How long can warm-cooked gooseberries sit out?
Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.
Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.
Do unopened gooseberries go bad?
Canned fruits have an incredibly long shelf life. If the can is in good condition without dents, rust, leakage, or signs of swelling, then the can is probably going to be good for about two years and even longer if stirred in a dry place away from direct heat like sunlight.
Pickled gooseberries last for 6 months to a year if the container has not been opened and has been stored in a dry environment away from direct heat sources and sunlight.
Unopened gooseberry jam can last from a year to 18 months if stirred in the fridge.
How long do gooseberries last in the fridge?
Gooseberries are versatile and can be used in many recipes, so we will cover the most common ways of using gooseberries.
Fresh gooseberries that have been sorted and cleaned, so there is no debris or semi-rotten gooseberries, will last for two weeks in the fridge. Keep them in a container but do not seal them.
Gooseberries will have a shorter shelf life if they are covered with condensation.
Gooseberry jam can last 18 months and may be longer in the fridge. It is so delicious it’s hard to keep for more than a week.
Stewed gooseberries will last for a week in an airtight container.
Do frozen gooseberries go bad?
If you have been searching for a berry that lasts a long time in the freezer without turning to mush and losing its flavor, you have finally found it.
Gooseberries freeze exceptionally well and have a shelf life of two years, making this berry a champion among the berries. There are a couple of ways that they need to be frozen to get the best from them, but if you have a big harvest of gooseberries, freezing is the way to go.
How to freeze whole gooseberries?
- Wash the gooseberries removing soil and garden debris and any bugs that may still be on them. Sort the gooseberries at this time and remove any that are not looking so good. Only freeze the best.
- Remove the flower (brown stalk) and stem from the bush. This is optional and can be an added hassle that’s not necessary.
- Leave the cleaned gooseberries to drip dry in a colander for 30 minutes or more.
- Pour the gooseberries onto a clean kitchen towel and then pat them dry; this will help to prevent freezer burn.
- Cover a tray with parchment paper and spread the gooseberries on the tray to try to leave space between them.
- Place the gooseberries in the freezer for 3 hours or more until frozen.
- When the berries are frozen, place them into a Ziploc freezer bag.
- Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible and seal it tightly.
- Mark the bag with the freezing date and place the bag in the freezer.
Freezing gooseberries in sugar
- Follow the same procedure as above until you get to pacing the gooseberries on the tray.
- Leave the gooseberry slightly damp or spritz with a fine mist.
- Drop the gooseberries into the sugar and shake off the excess.
- Flash freeze the berries as before for 3 to 4 hours.
- When the berries are frozen, place them in a Ziploc bag.
- Mark the bag with the freezer date and place them in the freezer.
This method allows the kids to grab a sweet, healthy snack. Gooseberries defrost fast and taste fantastic when icy cold.
How to defrost gooseberries?
In most cases, there is no need to defrost gooseberries. If you do require them to be soft, leave them in the fridge for an hour or place them in a bowl of water to expedite the process. They can go straight into recipes from frozen.
If you have no experience with gooseberries, they are worth finding or even planting in the garden so you can harvest them next year.
The fruit is versatile and can be used in desserts to savory dishes, including pickles. But the gooseberry is unique because it can be stored for two years in the freezer without degrading.