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Gooseberry & Currant Identification

Updated February 21, 2017

Gooseberries and currants belong to the same species in the genus Ribes. This genus includes in excess of 150 identified types as well as hundreds of varieties produced by breeding.

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Gooseberry Features

Unlike currants, gooseberries usually have thorns, making the plants simple to distinguish from each other. Cultivated gooseberries are either European or American. The former have a distinct, tart flavour and can be as small as peas or as large as a small egg. Their colours typically include yellow, green, purple, red, pink and white. The latter are generally smaller, less flavourful and include colours similar to the European variety.

Currant Features

Currants are much smaller than gooseberries and resemble raisins when they are dried. The pea-sized fruit can be black, white, pink or red. They grow in clusters called strigs that are similar in appearance to grape bunches.


Gooseberries are mildly flavoured and people commonly eat them as fresh fruit. Currants have a stronger taste and people usually cook them, use them as ingredients for desserts or make them into jams.

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About the Author

Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.

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