I have three gooseberry plants. Two are Hinnonmaki Red. They are the two small ones to the side. I'm trying to make standards of them and they are resisting. But I think next year I'll get a decent harvest. The huge one in the middle is Invicta. It is a nice tart green gooseberry. I'm picking them a bit late this year, but I just didn't have time before my camping trip. Invicta is best in pies or jams when picked a bit green. Right now they are a touch too ripe. So they will miss a bit of that really tart flavor they have. They are still good but not perfect. The Hinnonmaki are the opposite. For me they are best eaten out of hand and ripe so they are sweet enough to eat that way - at least to me.
To harvest I clip off the branch with the fruit. I do this for two reasons. The older branches won't produce fruit. Though they could produce side branches that will, but they get so crowded it is hard enough to find the fruit as it is. And the second is that the thorns are vicious. The fruit is hanging down on the underside of the branch and trying to pick under such nasty thorns is dangerous. I keep thinking that I need welding gloves for this bush. Even being as careful as I can, with a garden glove on one hand to pick up the branch, I still draw blood.
Once the majority of the fruiting branches are out, I prune the rest of the bush back a lot. I take out any branch that is not going up as otherwise the gooseberries will set on the ground. And then I thin. I have one book that says to thin to six branches. I don't go that far. This is also an ornamental foundation planting by my front door. So I need some foliage left. Right now it looks pretty sad as an ornamental planting, but it won't take long for the bush to grow huge again.
Since this is an inground planting that isn't in my garden proper, it is owned by both townhouses, which means it isn't just mine. It is shared. Usually I'm too kind and pick all the gooseberries for my townhouse mates. After getting stabbed for the third time, I decided if they wanted to eat them they could pick them. I cut off three huge branches and put them in the shade by their steps. Even without those sprays of gooseberries, I picked over 5 pounds of them. I think I'll make some jam. Gooseberry jam is really good.