On the next day of his fasting
By the river's brink he wandered,
Through the Muskoday, the meadow,
Saw the wild rice, Mahnomonee,
Saw the blueberry, Meenahga,
And the strawberry, Odahmin,
And the gooseberry, Shahbomin,
And the grape-vine, the Bemahgut,
Trailing o'er the alder-branches,
Filling all the air with fragrance!
"Master of Life!" he cried, desponding,
"Must our lives depend on these things?"
From "Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
With its tasty berries and attractive foliage, it's surprising that Gooseberries aren't more widely grown domestically. They are common in Missouri woods, though, so perhaps those who relish them are able to find all they want in the wild.
When the berries are fully ripe, they have a rather bland flavor, so they are used green, when they have a tart taste, and are most often made into pie. After cooking them and adding sugar, my grandmother often simply served them in a bowl. Their taste is not to everyone's liking, but many people are very fond of them.
Picking gooseberries is a pleasant pastime. They are found in the shade rather than in the hot sun like blackberries, and are picked earlier. They do have long, sharp spines, but pokes and scratches seem to be more easily avoided than when picking blackberries. Removing the stems and blossom ends is tedious work, however.