These are Gooseberries! And yes they are as prickly as they look. My bff Lorna and her husband Dave have a beautiful cabin in the Sierras. It was built by her grandmother's brother and other relatives. It is a wonderful place surrounded by big beautiful pine trees. The smell of pine is all around you. And at night we all sit on the huge front porch and look up at the stars. They look so close you can grab them! The air is crisp and clear and it is so relaxing.
The picture above is of the biggest Gooseberry Lorna had ever seen so we had to name it. It was about the size of a quarter which is really big. These bushes are here and there all over the lower elevations of the Sierras. The bears and other animals like to eat them. Though I don't know how. These nasty little berries makes the yummiest jelly you have ever tasted. It is like nothing I have had before. The problem is picking the berries, and making the jelly. Also if the year has been dry there will not be as many. In order to pick these berries you need to wear leather gloves and bring a bucket and heavy BBQ tongs. She basically scrapes them off the plant into the bucket because you can't pick them by hand even with the gloves.
These berries contain a lot of natural pectin so all that is needed is sugar and water to make the jelly. She cleans the berries as good as she can and puts them into a large pot. She then covers this with water and boils until the berries fall apart. I guess it takes about 1 1/2 hours. Then she pours it all into another pot using cheesecloth to catch the berries and impurities. She then adds sugar and puts in canning jars while hot to seal. We cherish these jars of wonderful jelly because you usually only get about 12 or so made a year. This is divided among 3 of her family members and then we get 1 or 2 small jars. But they are soooooooo good! I love this jam on crumpets in the morning! Yummy!