Botanical Name: Emblica officinalis, Gaertn
Family Name : Eupho rbiaceae
Gooseberry is a small genus of tree, native of India, Ceylon, Malaya and China. It is a medium-sized tree with' smooth greenish grey bark. Leaves feathery with small narrowing oblong, pinnately arranged leaflets. Fruits globose, 1/2-1 n" in diameter, fleshy six lobed containing six trigonous seeds.
Origin and Distribution
Gooseberries are derived mostly from two species: the European gooseberry ( Ribes grossularia ), native to the Caucasus Mountains and North Africa; and the American gooseberry ( R. hirtellum ), native to northeastern and north-central United States and adjacent parts of Canada. So-called European cultivars are pure species, but virtually all so-call American cultivars also have European genes. It is cultivated throughout India, often found in backyard home garden. It is also reported to be found in forests of India ascending up to 4500 ft.
The yellow gooseberries have usually the richest flavour for dessert, and the best wine made from them very closely resembles champagne. The red are generally the most acid, supporting the fact that acids change vegetable blues to red.
The fruit does not appear to be highly valued in the South of Europe, but further North is very popular for tarts, pies, sauces, chutneys, jams, and dessert, also for preserving in bottles for winter use. The young and tender leaves are eaten in salads.
Properties of Gooseberry
Astringent, sour, anti-scurvy, cooling, refrigerant, diuretic, antidysenteric, stomachic, laxative, hypoglycemic, anti-cancerous.
Forms of Use :- Fruit, juice and its jam, jelly & pickles.
Food Value of Gooseberry
The fruit is green when tender, changes to light yellow or brick-red colour when matured. It is sour and astringent, and occasionally eaten raw. It is used for making pickles, preserves and jellies. The fruit pulp contains (per 100 gms):
Gooseberry fruit is probably the richest known source of vitamin C. The fruit juice contains nearly 20 times as much vitamin C as orange juice. and 'is single fruit with equal anti-scorbutic value. Feeding trials on healthy human subjects show that the vitamin present in the fruit is utilized as pure ascorbic acid. When administered to patients suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, Vitamin C saturation is more quickly reached with gooseberry powder than synthetic vitamin C, thereby showing that the former is more' readily assimilated, probably due to the presence of accessory factors or probably going synergic.
Medicinal Uses & benefits
Gooseberry fruit has been held in high esteem in indigenous medicine. Its uses are:
A tannin containing gallic acid, ellagic acid and glucose in its molecule and naturally present in amla fruit, prevents or retards oxidation of the vitamin and renders the fruit a valuable antiscorbutic in the fresh as well as in dry condition. The antiscorbutic value is better retained by preserving the fruits in salt solution or in the form of dry powder. The dried fruit loses only 20% of its vitamin in 375 days when kept in a refrigerator, but loses 67% in the same period when stored at room temperature.
Gooseberry is very much liked in forms of pickles, murabba, jam and jelly. Since it contains ample vitamin C, it does not go stale easily.
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