Encountering this 19th century illustration of Gooseberries on the Internet led me on one of those delightful, meandering memory paths from childhood. Haven't thought about gooseberries in countless ages.
In Slovakia they were known as 'egreše' and some of the favored plants in my grandmother's garden which was located near Nové Zámky, Slovakia. There were wild plants which grew in the nearby woods, but the fruit was always much smaller and difficult to pick because of the many spines on the branches. Her plants were well tended, pruned, abundantly fertilized, grew in the dappled shade of apple trees, and had large translucent green, marble sized fruit in summer.
As a fruit to eat off the bush they were a bit tart, but in my grandmother's kitchen, and with several magical ingredients [namely sugar from the nearby sugar beet factory in Šurany] they emerged as the most delicious pies [egreše koláč] or were preserved in jars as 'egreše šetrit', gooseberry conserve.
Last night I was chatting with a friend in Sibiu, Romania and when I happened to mention gooseberries [known there as 'agrişe'] and she began to wax rapsodically about the joys of eating them as a child.
Delightful memories of gooseberries as one of the joys of childhood.