Gooseberry is the name of an edible fruit which is found on gooseberry bushes. These are round in shape, yellowish green in color and have a thin hairy skin. The scientific name of gooseberry is “Ribes uva-crispa”. Although the word gooseberry is also used to denote a person in the company of another couple which prefers to be alone, it depicts only the fruit here.
Best season in India for gooseberry harvest
April to August every year is the time period for gooseberry harvests. Amongst the varieties, the best ones are often found in May and June. When there are good harvests, growers have managed to harvest several thousands of kilograms.
Many of the growers have realized over the years that they can simply use the gooseberry instead of trying to find expensive supplements and exotic alternatives to the same. Everything that can be done with mangoes is effective on gooseberries as well.
Methods of preservation
- Wash the gooseberry, wipe and then steam it for 6-7 minutes. After steaming is over, press it with the index finger and thumb, and then remove the seed once it cools down. Spread and then dry it to get rid of moisture. Once done, you can store it for a long duration.
- Cut the gooseberry into pieces, remove the seeds, and then let them dry in the sun
- Keep them in airtight containers at room temperature. They will remain good for about a year.
- Soak it in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Prepare buttermilk and chutney using it.
- The dried gooseberry can be used to make good quality hair oil
- Sugar syrup-based preservation is very popular. It is used to prepare a sumptuous dish in India called ‘Amle ka Murabba’.
- One can preserve them by making tasty and spicy pickles
Edible items prepared with gooseberries
- Gooseberry drinks- Rinse the gooseberries well in cold water and trim their ends. Use two parts of gooseberries and one part of sugar, and fresh ginger to it for a refreshing summer drink.
- Gooseberry sundaes- Use the compote that comprises of sugar and gooseberries. Add yoghurt or cream, along with ice cream to create a rich and tasty sundae.
- Gooseberry pie- Add nutmeg, flour, cream, and milk to the compote to prepare the classic British gooseberry pie
Why eat gooseberries?
The world loves to gorge on a superfood from time to time, and a gooseberry is one such item. It has been very popular in Ayurveda, and comes with a number of health benefits. Here are the different reasons why they must be part of every diet:
- Increase immunity– Gooseberries contain generous amounts of antioxidants due to Vitamin C, which make them highly suitable for boosting immunity
- Suitable for better vision– They contain carotene and vitamin A, which helps them make vision sharper. They are also recommended for different age-related vision disorders. One could either snack on gooseberry pickle or gooseberry candies.
- Helps in weight loss– Gooseberries contain a lot of proteins and dietary fibers, thereby speeding up metabolism and helping in weight loss. They also keep an individual fuller and prevent unnecessary food pangs.
- Suitable for heart health– Due to fibers and vitamin C, these fruits are able to reduce bad cholesterol and keep blood pressure in check. This helps an individual gain longevity through better heart health.
- Good for skin– A great way to have glowing skin is to drink a glass of gooseberry juice every day. They are helpful in treatment of acne as well.
- Better hair– Several nutrients in gooseberries help to prevent dandtruff, slow down greying, make hair follicles stronger, and also enable better blood circulation to the scalp.
- Could protect the brain– A few degenerative brain diseases occur as a result of an iron overload in the brain cells. Very high levels of iron lead to the creation of free rasicals that damage cells. Gooseberries are natural sources of various organic acids such as citric acid. Citric acid decreases the chances of Alzheimer’s and strokes by preventing iron accumulation in brain cells. Although antioxidants in this fruit reduce the risks from strokes, more research needs to be done in this area.
- Strengthens bones- Gooseberries contain a lot of calcium, and are thereby able to strengthen bones. This fruit may even be able to prevent the breakdown of osteoclasts, which are cells of the bone.
Use to prepare home remedies
Gooseberries can be used to prepare some amazing home remedies, one of which is for preventing hair fall. These days, there are many people who constantly complain about hair fall. The reasons for the same could be many, such as:
- Poor water supply
- Shampoo chemicals
For this purpose, one needs to prepare a mixture of gooseberry pulp and milk. The pulp should be made in a manner such that no large chunks are left. It needs to be applied to the head and kept there for 15 minutes, after which it should be washed off with warm water. The best aspect about this hair pack is that one does not need a shampoo to wash it off.
Several people these days are moving towards complementary or alternative medicines for controlling blood sugar. The science of Ayurveda has recommended the use of gooseberries (amla) since many years for the same. It is helpful in treatment of type 2 diabetes.
To use amla for this purpose every day, one should consume it in raw form once every day. In case the taste is too sour, have a glass water right after the fruit. This will ensure a sweet aftertaste in the mouth.
Yet another way to use amla for diabetes is to dry its pulp, grind it into fine powder and then include it in the diet. For a tart flavor, the powder can even be sprinkled on fruits. One can also consume it by mixing the powder with either fresh lime juice or water.
Due to the huge number of nutrients present in this fruit, making it suitable for consumption at any time, it is often regarded as a superfood. It is readily available in different parts of the world as well. Not too many people know of its diverse uses and applications. For those who like to be creative in the kitchen, this is also a new ingredient to try out a variety of recipes. Whatever be the reason for consumption, it will certainly never be harmful.