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Cape Gooseberry

Cape Gooseberry, also known as Physalis Peruviana, is a round marble sized berry like fruit that is usually yellow in color when ripe and is covered by a husk or “cape”.  That is how this fruit got its name. The husk keeps the fruit from spoiling easily. This South American fruit has varied culinary uses. Cape Gooseberry Upside Down Cake, Cape Gooseberry Chutney and Cape Gooseberry and Apple Crumble are a couple of preparations that include this ingredient.

 

History 

Cape Gooseberry is native to the high-altitude Andes region of South America, in countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador. As per records, this fruit was present in Cape of Good Hope even before 1807, when the early settlers came in. For many years it was cultivated in these countries only. It is only recently that it is being cultivated in other countries across the globe, such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Egypt and Northeastern China.

 

Culinary Uses 

Cape Gooseberry has many culinary uses that include making preserves, jams, adding to salads and salsas, added to baked foods and at times even the pulp is eaten raw. Because of its bright color, it is also used for decorating foods.

 

Popular Cape Gooseberry Recipes

There are many preparations in the American and Latin American cuisines that use this fruit as one of the key ingredients. Some recipes are listed here –

  • Cape Gooseberry Upside Down Cake – Gooseberries are cut lengthwise without separating the two halves and cooked till tender. Once cooked, they are drained of the excess water and placed in a cake tin that has been greased. This is topped with jaggery & cake batter and baked till well done. It is turned upside down on a plate and when cool, it is served topped with whipped cream and nuts.
  • Cape Gooseberry Chutney – Sliced gooseberries are added to sautéed onions, which have been spiced with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilies and ginger along with powdered spices such as turmeric, chili powder and salt. Sugar too can be added, but is optional. All ingredients are mixed and sautéed till done. The mixture is blended in a blender to make the chutney.

 

Nutritive Facts 

Cape Gooseberry is a very rich source of vitamin A, C, Thiamin and Niacin. Beta-carotene is very high in this fruit and it also contains good dietary fiber and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium and manganese.

 

Buying & Storing Tips

During selection of this fruit, it is important to ensure that the skin is shiny, smooth and of golden color. However, if raw fruits are bought, they can be stored with their husks on, at room temperature away from direct sunlight. This way the fruit stays for at least 6 months.

 

Trivia

Sometime, the unripe Cape Gooseberry can prove to be poisonous.