When to pick gooseberries depends on the variety.
Picking usually starts in late May – before the gooseberries are fully ripe. The first picked gooseberries are hard and tart; these are used for cooking crumbles, pies and tarts. If the gooseberries start to fall of the bush, they need picking.
Picking some gooseberries early will thin the crop, and allow those remaining on the bush to grow larger and ripen. They will get softer and sweeter as they become ripe.
Dessert gooseberries are particularly large, soft and sweet when ripe and change to a pinky colour. They are usually ready in late July or August and can be eaten when picked, without cooking. But it is worth picking a few desert gooseberries in late May , which can be cooked, so that the fruit is thinned out.
The gooseberries will not all ripen at the same time, so gooseberry
bushes have to be picked several times to harvest the ripe gooseberries.
*Leveller is a popular desert gooseberry which is ready in August.
*Leveller has thin skins.
Invicta is a green-berried gooseberry variety, grown for cooking. It
has mildew resistance, & ripens in late July/early August.
Invicta is a very prickly variety so it is worth wearing gloves when
picking Invicta gooseberries.
The answer to ‘when to pick gooseberries’ is from late May, but pick
gooseberries several times, to allow the smaller fruits to get bigger.