Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Physalis Peruviana-Cape Gooseberry

An interesting plant that I am selling seed for is Cape Gooseberry, or physalis peruviana.
I fell in love with the taste of the fruit this plant bears many years ago when I received seed from the incredible Kokopelli organization in France.
Up until then I was familiar with the physalis pruinosa varieties, as in ground cherries, but this one blew me away.
This intensely flavoured fruit has a tropical taste, tart but highly addictive; it is really not at all similar in comparison to it's milder flavoured ground cherry counterpart.
The plant as well has different requirements. As one would expect from a plant that is native to Peru, it does require a long growing season. I generally start these indoors in mid-March, and the harvest pay-off is not until September in our climate.
But I do consider myself lucky. I think in many other parts of Canada, growing these would just be a pipe-dream, so I am glad I live in the banana belt I do.
They do however have some degree of frost resistance, and once picked will sit on your kitchen counter for months- and remain awesome!
Great to just pop in your mouth, they are also delish as preserves. If you can resist eating them before you get to the stage of making preserves.
Add an international flair to your garden this year-try this Peruvian gem!


melissa said...

Hi Linda, I always wondered why I was disappointed with my locally sourced ground cherries when comparing them to the ones that grow wild on my Dad's farm.........
Will you have seed on Saturday?

Linda said...

Hi Melissa,
Thanks for I'm following you too. Yes, I will have my seed at Seedy Saturday. There is NO comparison between Cape Gooseberry and Ground Cherries. Cape Gooseberries are just so good. I eat so many when I am picking!

melissa said...

More reason to come, to get seed. I am pleased it wasn't simply my taste-buds.......

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the peruviana gooseberry would ripen inside if picked slightly green. Reason i am asking is that my peruviana are *just* starting to yeld now, and the season will be over in a few weeks around here. If I could harvest a bunch just before the first frost, and let the berry ripen inside, that would be oh so very cool!

I tried last year with pruinosa ground cherry, and it did not work: they stayed green, and eventually withered. Sad. :(

Linda said...

hi etienneg
Just seeing your comment now-oops! Anyways-from what i know you don't want to pick the physalis peruviana unripe. It is actually TOXIC!!
Only ripe fruit will do, and my experience has been that they don't ripen after they have been picked.
Sorry this is months late in coming!