Physalis peruviana is the plant and its fruit, also known as Cape gooseberry, Inca berry, Aztec berry, golden berry, giant ground cherry, Peruvian groundcherry, Peruvian cherry, Pichuberry, pok pok, poha, ras bhari, aguaymanto, uvilla, uchuva, harankash, and (rarely) Physalis. It is indigenous to South America, but has been cultivated in England since the late 18th century and in South Africa in the region of the Cape of Good Hope since at least the start of the 19th century.
Physalis peruviana is closely related to the tomatillo, also a member of the genus Physalis. As a member of the plant family Solanaceae, it is more distantly related to a large number of edible plants, including tomato, eggplant, potato and other members of the nightshades. Despite its name, it is not closely related to any of the cherry, Ribes gooseberry, Indian gooseberry, or Chinese gooseberry.
The fruit is a smooth berry, resembling a miniature, spherical, yellow tomato. Removed from its bladder-like calyx, it is about the size of a marble, about 1–2 cm in diameter. Like a tomato, it contains numerous small seeds. It is bright yellow to orange in color, and it is sweet when ripe, with a characteristic, mildly tart flavor, making it ideal for snacks, pies, or jams. It is relished in salads and fruit salads, sometimes combined with avocado. Also, because of the fruit's decorative appearance, it is popular in restaurants as an exotic garnish for desserts.
A prominent feature is the inflated, papery calyx enclosing each berry. The calyx is accrescent until the fruit is fully grown; at first it is of normal size, but after the petals fall it continues to grow until it forms a protective cover around the growing fruit. If the fruit is left inside the intact calyx husks, its shelf life at room temperature is about 30–45 days.
Basic research on the cape gooseberry has provided preliminary evidence that its constituents, possibly polyphenols and/or carotenoids, may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The crude extract of the fruit-bearing plant has in vitro evidence for activity against markers of inflammation and lung cancer. It has also shown possible properties in vitro against diabetes and hypertension mechanisms. Some withanolides isolated from the plant may have anticancer activity.
Antihepatotoxic effects against carbon tetrachloride toxicity were found in one laboratory study. Melatonin has been found in the plant. Evidence, mainly from animal models, suggests melatonin administration may lower risk of diseases associated with oxidative stress, including neurodegenerative diseases.
In folk medicine, Physalis peruviana is thought to be a medicinal herb to treat diseases, none of which has been confirmed in human clinical trials as treatable by cape gooseberry or its extracts.
Cape Gooseberries are well known for its blood purifying capacity. They are also known for other medicinal qualities which is being a source of provitamin A, Vitamin B & C. In India scientists have isolated physalolactone C from the leaves, a minor steroidal constituent. Notes on Cape Gooseberry This is an Ornamental plant whose calyx gets enlarge into a kind of membranous cage, after flowering it is being surrounded by a large berry. It has a fairly sweet taste and can be eaten raw or cooked. It is very pleasing to the eye when the five petals of the calyx are opened around the fruit. They have a slight sweet-sour taste. Gooseberries are bitter, even though it is used in sweet preparations.
Vitamins (Per 100 g)Vitamin A 3,000 I.U. Of caroteneVitamin B1(thiamine) 0.01 mgNiacin 0.80 mgVitamin B2(Riboflavin) 0.17 mgVitamin C(Ascorbic Acid) 20.01 mgMinerals ( Per 100 g)Carbohydrate 12.01 gCalcium 11.5 mgPhosphorous 21 mgIron 1.70 mgCalories 72 [kcal]Protein 2.01 gFat 1.1 gFiber 0.41 g
Cape Gooseberries are available the year around. The fruit can be unwrapped and eaten as is or can be dipped in melted chocolate. The fruit is said to be a cross between a gooseberry and a cherry tomato. Tomatillos or cherry tomatoes can be used as a substitute for Cape Gooseberries. The unripe fruit is said to be poisonous to some people. The fruit is mainly used in making jams; traditional medicine and can also be consumed. This is a soft-wooded, perennial plant usually reaches up to 2 to 3 ft. in height.
These piquant fruit turns out from a pale green to an amber or gold color as they get ripen and offer a flavor similar to a gooseberry or a tart green grape. Cape gooseberry supplies are imported from Colombia and South America, the places where they grow wild and are gathered. The fruit matches well with meat and savory foods.
Under good conditions it may reach 6 ft. The purplish, spreading branches are covered with fine hairs. As the fruits ripen, they begin to drop to the ground, but will continue to mature. Sometimes the stored fruit can be adversely affected by Penicillium and Botrytis molds.
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