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Physalis Peruviana - Cape Gooseberry

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  • Physalis Peruviana - Cape Gooseberry

    I love these, they taste so exotic and delicious. But boy, they are difficult to grow. Mine started with seeds from a cake decoration berry at my parent's Golden Wedding in 2004. The plants survive in the greenhouse for several years if it is not too cold. I started a new plant from seed after a few years without, which I took in last winter. Transplanted back to the greenhouse and was rewarded with flowers and a few berries earlier in the year. But the plant stopped flowering in summer.

    All of a sudden in September and October the plant started racing to the top of the greenhouse and flowering profusely. Dozens of immature little lanterns, but unfortunately it is now too late for them. I think the culprit is daylight sensitivity like so many species from the Andes and other middle American plants.

    It may just be my fault for taking a random berry and hoping that this will grow. So my question is, are there better alternatives? Are there UK adapted strains that fruit better throughout summer? I have had to cut this plant drastically to fit it into a large pot and overwinter indoors. What a waste of all these immature lanterns and flowers.

  • #2
    I've only ever grown these when I joined the seed savers. So I have no knowledge at all on these. The one's in the seed savers did grow the purple variety. But it's not something we use in our cooking.

    When I google chinese gooseberry I get a kiwi fruit lol.

    Comment


    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry Clumsy, my bad. Their alternative name is Cape Gooseberry, not Chinese Gooseberry. Have corrected above now. Yes we did get purple tomatillo one year and they were pretty good and kept for months. I grew them last year. They don't seem to have problems with daylength in the same way.

      The purple tomatillos are less exotic tasting than the Cape Gooseberries. They are not as sweet. but have a certain fruitiness. Do you ever put apricot into a curry (or whether this is a British idea of Asian cooking like in Coronation chicken), but I happily put them in a curry. Also yummy,when I cut up a chicken breast, fry with chili and onion, put a dab of peanut butter on top and water to dissolve for a rich nutty sauce. Then just at the end I add a few purple tomatillos for slightly fruity extra flavour. But, my dishes are what I like and not recognised recipes. I use them in salads, but don't make the Mexican salsa much. For me, the purple ones taste better than the green ones.
      Last edited by Galina; 18-11-2019, 16:52. Reason: edited to add a few suggestions on how to use them.

    • clumsy
      clumsy commented
      Editing a comment
      It's okay no need to apologise, I knew what you meant from physalis. I just did right click and searched Chinese Gooseberry at least I learnt something new, which was funny it made me smile.

  • #3
    Never put apricot into any curry. The recipe's always depended on locally what was available in my case my parents they grew up in asia in a small town they used what was available. I learnt their recipes without modifying anything. But I do add vegetables or change vegetables without them knowing to much otherwise it can become a hot topic. You can go from a town to town in asia same curry will have slightly different ingredients.

    Comment


    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      This made me smile. Recipe? What is that. My cooking usually starts with a look round the garden, what needs harvesting now and then I will think of a way of using what I have picked. Of course I have some basic trusted recipes, but the variations are pretty endless. Especially when it comes to seasonal vegetables.

  • #4
    I got my original Cape Gooseberries I think from Future Foods, it seems like yonks ago. The first year I grew them, they were restricted in containers in the poly-tunnel. They didn't have the best of times as the soil they were in kept drying out in the heat and the leaves and branches would flop. Luckily they soon picked up with a good glug of water, I'm not sure they got fed very often either. But they grew really well and we had a huge crop, I remember being shocked at how big and bushy the plants grow, The fruits taste was amazing and I was hooked!. I've tried several different types of the shorter growing sort, but they don't compare (imo) so I don't bother with them even if they are an easier size to grow.

    I haven't done much in the line of selecting and I'm not sure I've sown any for a few years, they just seem to pop up somewhere, mostly in the poly-tunnel but one got away with a spot in the greenhouse this year! I guess it'll catch me out one year and we won't have any. They do tend to do their own thing and like yours, mine are back in full swing. Must admit I just leave them to it, if it's a mild year they crop well into the new year, although they can get a bit bitter towards the end.

    I still have it in the back of my head that they crop better if you keep the roots restricted, perhaps it gives them more incentive rather than grow leaves.

    You are very welcome to some seeds from mine, though they can't compete with the memories your seeds share.

    Comment


    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      They sound very similar to the way mine grow. Just that you have left them. Hope you will get some fruit from them. Root restriction for better crops, have to remember that.

    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      I stuck a small packet into the freezer and germinated from that. Same as with peppers. I find they do not germinate well for me after two years, but from the freezer, they do well. And they really do not take much space. Mine are in a very small paper envelope inside a Vitamin tablet tube. These tubes come with dessicant in the lid and are great for seeds. This sort of container. No endorsement on the tablets.
      https://www.healthspan.co.uk/product...pack%20size=40

    • jayb
      jayb commented
      Editing a comment
      That's a good idea thanks. I've picked up some of the fallen berries which I'll hopefully get to processing for seed at the weekend!

  • #5
    I grew my first Physalis from some supermarket fruit -many years ago. They were in an open-bottomed flower bucket in the greenhouse and grew, and grew and grew. I hadn't realised how they would take over the far end of the GH, up to the roof and straggling everywhere. The pleasure of picking fruit through the winter made it all worthwhile! A few years on, they were still in the same bucket (which rests on a meager 3-4" of old compost on top of a solid floor.) I needed to move the bucket and found that the roots had spread throughout the bed - for about 3 feet on either side of the bucket. They were enormous! New plants spring up every year from fallen fruit - no special techniques. Just left to their own devices. I have some in another bucket at the moment with some ripening fruit. They're a treat that I keep for myself!!

    Comment


    • #6
      Lol, they are a bit boisterous. I know some gardeners won't grow them because of their 'rampant' tendencies.

      I can't fault you for keeping them to yourself, they are yummmm

      I have some in another bucket at the moment with some ripening fruit. They're a treat that I keep for myself!!
      Are they contained or an "open-bottomed" Bucket?

      Comment


      • #7
        That is a good idea an open bottomed flower bucket. Thank you Veggie. I have them in a giant plant pot at the moment with drainage holes of an inch diameter. Maybe I transplant them like that in spring. My mint is also in such a pot to prevent spreading everywhere.

        Comment


        • #8
          I forgot to post these pictures of my volunteer plant in the greenhouse, taken I think about a week to ten days ago. We had another frost last night, so they may not last for long.

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          • #9
            Oh, one looks golden ripe, enjoy!

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            • #10
              We had a small bowlful between us, I kept them on the windowsill for a week before eating and very good they were too!

              Comment


              • clumsy
                clumsy commented
                Editing a comment
                It's a nice feeling to be harvesting anything at this time of year.

              • jayb
                jayb commented
                Editing a comment
                So true! It makes the wonder of growing even more special.
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