A glossy orange fruit with similar size, shape and structure to a small cherry tomato and contained in a papery shell that looks a bit like a Chinese lamp. An associate of the nightshade relations, it is mainly grown in Colombia and South Africa.
Scientific Name:Physalis peruviana
Cape gooseberry is one of the Physalis fruit varieties and its native is Chile and Peru. This nightshade berry is used only for the commercial production in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This berry is the size of a cherry tomato, is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds. Cape gooseberry can also grow in warmer climates and it is better as the plants can take only a couple degrees of ice. This fruit grows in moist soil types and will do very well in poor soils and in pots. The main commercial uses of Cape gooseberry are as preserved fruit and for making a simple jam, but fancy imaginary restaurants often use these fruits as an exotic garnish.
Tomatillos are variety of Physalis fruit native to Mexico and well cropped by the Aztecs. Tomatillos are harvested when they are still unripe and light green in color and used at that stage of ripeness. This variety of the fruit is commonly sold in Southern California and it looks yellow in color when fully ripe but there are some varieties that ripen to red and purple. Much used in Mexican green sauces as it tastes both sweet and and the original taste of the tart is also retained. There is no acceptable replacement.
The Chinese lantern plant is naturally found from Southern Europe to Japanis. This plant basically a herbaceous perennial that can live up to an age of three years. This fruit is like a balloon shaped and has a papery texture. The leaves of the plant are shaped like a heart and can grow up to 9 cm long. The fruits are edible and suprisingly, are higher in vitamin C than lemons. Care should be taken though, as all other parts of the plant are poisonous. It is a vigorous plant and can spread if left unchecked.
Physalis fruit is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, calcium and trace amounts of B vitamins. These have been used as a diuretic in traditional medicine, although there is no scientific data to support this.
- These fruits contain 18 kinds of amino acids.
- They contain ALL 8 essential amino acids
- These berries are also abundant in polysaccharides, compounds that may help fortify the immune system.
- Goji berries are also one of the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene