I first encountered them in my first CSA about three years ago. From the outside, they look like dried out flower petals. But when you open them up – surprise! – they look like little cherry tomatoes inside. And they feel exactly like cherry tomatoes too, from the outside at least.
But then you bite into one and, WOW, it tastes completely different. Sure, the texture is quite similar, but this tastes more like a fruit. It’s sweet, juicy, with hints of fig flavor. It kind of reminds me of a grape, although there is no tartness whatsoever. You can totally eat the seeds inside, and thus it’s easy to continue popping them into your mouth.
Peel, eat, peel eat – I can eat a whole basket in one sitting.
Oops (wipes mouth), heh heh, I forgot to tell you what these are.
These are cape gooseberries, or golden berries or husk cherries or . . . the list goes on and one. There are actually dozens of colloquial names for this fruit, which is scientifically known as Physalis peruviana L.
Originally native to South America, this delightful little fruit can grow anywhere that tomatoes can be grown, which explains why they are currently available and in season in New England. You can make jams, pies, puddings, and ice cream out of them. They have a relatively high amount of pectin, which makes them great for preserves or jams.
I personally think they taste so good fresh that it’s hard to keep them around long enough to preserve! Try some right now while they are in season. I picked mine up at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, but you can probably find them in various Farmers Markets around town.
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