The cape gooseberry is a tropical South American plant.
It was used by the Incas and is one of the plants that is said to have contributed to their longevity. It is also found in other parts of the world, such as China, South Africa and England. It thrives in all these regions despite the differences in climate. It is even seen on occasion in Jamaica, where it grows after popping up in gardens.
English: Golden berry or Cape gooseberry, physalis peruviana. Svenska: Guldbär eller kapkrusbär, physalis peruviana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cape gooseberry fruit are small, round and yellow in appearance. Some have described the fruit as a perfect yellow egg yolk. Each fruit resembles a small plummie tomato. However, unlike those tomatoes, which are red in color, cape gooseberry fruit are yellow. The fruit is a relative of tomatoes, eggplants and other members of the nightshade family.
People who eat the fruit fresh say that it has a flavor that is a blend of tomato and pineapple. The fruit is rich in cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant. Cryptoxanthin can be converted to Vitamin A inside the body. Studies have shown that this powerful antioxidant also reduces the risk of lung cancer and colon cancer. This substance is also found in egg yolk, butter, papaya and tangerines.
Uchuva or Cape gooseberry fruit (Physalis edulis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cape gooseberry is also known by the following names in different countries:
- Inca berry
- Pok pok
- Giant ground cherry
- Golden berry
- Aztec berry
- Ras bhari
These herbaceous plants usually do not grow higher than about 3m. Some are as short as 30 centimeters. They need a lot of water. The ripe fruit are sometimes used to decorate cheese cake and may be used to make a sauce to accompany fish. People also make the dried fruit into chutney.
Physalis peruviana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They resemble tomato plants but are stiffer so they can stand up above the ground without the need of external support. They do well when they receive full sun and do not like the cold.