Cape Gooseberry Cultivation – Heath and Nutrition Benefits of Tropical South American Cape Gooseberries
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 in the wild.
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.
Cape Gooseberry Benefits
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.
Physalis Plants Names
Physalis plants or cape gooseberries are also known by the following names in different countries:
- Inca berry
- Pok pok
- Giant ground cherry
- Golden berry
- Aztec berry
- Ras bhari
Cape Gooseberry Cultivation
These herbaceous plants usually do not grow higher than about 3m. Some are as short as 30 centimeters. Cape gooseberry cultivation results in a significant amount of spending on water. The physalis plants 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.
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.
This article was previously published on Scienceray on Oct. 21, 2012.