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.
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.
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.
- Fresh red, white, black currants and gooseberry image by Piter Pkruger from Fotolia.com