Despite the name, a ground cherry is not cherry and It is not a gooseberry either.
This fruit is known by different names in different parts of the world. In South Africa, they are called the Cape Berry. This berry has also be called the Inca berry, Aztec berry, golden berry, and ground cherry. It is known as the Physalia in the United Kingdom. This berry is native to South America. It grows well in the state of California, New Zealand, Egypt, and some parts of Europe.
When I used to live in Poland my mom would buy transplants and she told me that they are called raisins. Here in Canada we start growing them indoors first prior to farming season. This way we know that we will have fruits in late summer.
The ground cherry is a perennial and herbaceous plant. It can range in height from 0.5 to 2.0 m and the berries are bright orange fruits. They develop in the dry husks of the plant.
The berry has a sweet and sour taste and is refreshing. The berries also have a pleasant smell. One berry can have anywhere from 100 to 200 seeds. The berries can be stored for 3 months at room temperature. They can also last around 6 months in a cool environment.
The longer the berries are stored the sweeter the taste they will have. They will not spoil as long as the skin of the fruit is not damaged.
The cherries need well-drained soil. The soil should have a pH ranging from 5 to 8. Once the seedlings have hardened they can be transplanted into the soil. They are planted around the same time of year as tomatoes. If the seeds are planted indoors, wait 6 weeks to the last date of the frost and the temperature needs to be over 70 degrees on a regular basis.
Ground cherries grow during the summer and need to be planted well after the last frost. They will produce fruit all summer. They grow best in the hardy south zone 8. The plants need well-drained soil. Too much fertilization or too much water can stop the fruits from growing.
The ground cherry will begin to develop small yellow flowers that have brown centers. The fruit is usually ready to pick in the late summer when the husks have turned from a green to a tan color.
There is not much information on the chemical makeup of the plant. It is said they have a high nutritional value and can be used in many dishes.
According to information, the carbohydrates content is 13.2 percent, the total amount of fat is 3.16 percent, and the protein is 1.85 percent. There is 88.72 kcal.
The total amount of sugar is 8.9 percent. The Brazilian raisins have a higher fructose level and it better for people that are diabetic. They have 38 to 42 mg of vitamin C and Vitamin B complex as well as other necessary vitamins and miners. They also contain high iron, zinc, and copper. The fruit does have some fatty acids including polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Brazilian raisin is 72.6 percent juice.
With all of these vitamins and minerals, this fruit is good for the body. It also has a higher level of phosphorus than other types of fruits.
This fruit also has withanolides which can be used for medical benefits. It is said that this fruit can help support the liver, slow the growth of tumors, have anti-inflammatory properties, have antibacterial properties, can lower blood pressure, help prevent a stroke, are antifeedants and repellents. It is also said that these berries have a calming effect.
This plant is thermophilic. It can handle a short-term drop in temperature and is resistant to most plant diseases. Each plant produces many fruit . The plant will flower and then produce the fruit. Each plant can produce as much as 300 pieces of fruit.
The fruit can be harvest in late August and September. The plant can deal with short-term low temperatures and only a short period of frost. Ground cherries are often used in both sweet and savory dishes. The fruit can be eaten raw. There is a number of recipes on the internet that use the ground cherry.
Ground cherries are nightshades and they have solanine and other forms of solanidine alkaloids. The leaves of this plant can be toxic. Do not eat fruit that is not ripe or the leaves. Do not allow pets or livestock to eat the unripe fruit or leaves as it can be toxic to them as well.