Currants and Gooseberries in Your Survival Garden

My first exposure to gooseberries was as a child when my grandmother made gooseberry pie for one of my uncles. She new what he liked. I didn’t care for it back then, but my tastes have changed.

Currants?Well, that’s another matter. They’re too tart for me. Or maybe I haven’t had them prepared so they’re at their finest.

But what about currants and gooseberries in your survival garden or edible landscape? If you’ve got either one of them on your land, you’ll want to see the helpful primer in an article by Sylvia Gist in “Backwoods Home magazine” for September/October, 2015 (Issue #155).

Ever heard of gooseberry fool? There’s a recipe for it in the article linked below. You’ll find a recipe for gooseberry pie there, too.

An exerpt follows with a link to the full article. The link will open a new window, which means you can come back here to explore the additional resources mentioned in the article.

Currants and gooseberries

By Sylvia Gist

Currants and gooseberries all belong to the genus Ribes (pronounced “rye-bees”). There are varieties of currants and gooseberries native to Europe and North America, along with some developed by breeders. The jostaberry is a cross between the gooseberry and the black currant. Ribes are very cold-tolerant, so northern regions are particularly suitable for their cultivation.

Currants and gooseberries may actually be prohibited in your area due to their ability to host white pine blister rust, which can kill off white pine trees. The fungus must spend some part of its life on leaves of this genus, and the black currant is particularly obliging. There was a federal ban in the 1920s and a lot of resources went into trying to eradicate all gooseberries and currants, particularly in places where white pines were the mainstay of the lumber/logging business. In the 1960s, the federal ban was lifted and the responsibility shifted to the states, some of which still ban importation. The websites or catalogs of various nurseries will tell you whether they can ship a particular plant to your state.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

Additional Resources


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.