I love exotic fruits, so when I first heard about physalis I could not wait to try them. So what exactly is physalis? It is a Peruvian fruit whose history can be traced back to the Incas.
Physalis is bright yellow berries that strikingly resemble cherry tomatoes. They are small, round, and are normally covered with a papery calyx.
The papery calyx is a protective layer that ensures the berries do not get any blemishes. They sometimes go by the names golden berry and Cape gooseberry.
The physalis vine produces very many fruits. When they are ripe, physalis falls off the tree. The outer layer is not edible, so it is always discarded. However, some people use it to garnish fruit salads and cakes.
If you are new to this exotic fruit, you are probably wondering what it tastes like.
Worry not, this article will educate you on everything you need to know about physalis including the flavor, culinary uses, nutritional value, storage, and so much more. I’ll even share my favorite recipe with you, so keep reading.
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What does it taste like?
Physalis has a very unique and exotic flavor. It has a sweet-tart taste. I would describe the taste of physalis as a combination of different flavors including pineapple, cherry tomato, strawberry, and fig.
The skin of physalis is thin, similar to that of a tomato, and is edible. When you bite into the berry, you'll get to juicy flesh that is very soft. It also contains seeds that are perfectly edible.
Physalis has a pleasant and enticing aroma that is very similar to that of pineapple.
Physalis has several uses, so you do not have to be skeptical about stocking it up. Here are a few culinary uses of physalis.
- Eat out of hand
This is the best way to enjoy physalis. They are small in size, which makes them perfect to bite into. Just be sure to remove the husk before eating them.
- Making chutney or salsa
Next time you are making salsa or chutney, use physalis and thank me later.
- Churning ice cream
You can use physalis to churn ice cream.
- In salads
Next time you are making a salad, use physalis instead of cherry tomatoes. You will love the outcome.
- Making jam
If you love sweet jams that have a tangy undertone, you will love physalis jam. Use physalis to make jam the next time you stock them.
- Oven-roast them
You can oven-roast physalis. Just drizzle a little bit of olive oil on them and you are good to go. My kids love oven-roasted physalis.
Where to Buy Physalis
One of my favorite things about physalis is that they are available throughout the year. You can buy physalis at major supermarkets or grocery stores.
You can also buy them in farmers’ markets. If you have a hard time getting your hands on them, you can buy physalis online.
I have come across a few vendors that stock them.
Is Physalis Nutritious?
Physalis is as nutritious as it is tasty.
It is rich in antioxidants as well as Vitamins C and A. Additionally, physalis contains niacin, an essential nutrient for humans.
I personally love how nutritious physalis is, so I incorporate them into my diet whenever I can.
How to Properly Store Physalis
The first thing you need to know is that if you intend to store physalis, do not remove them from their husk.
They should be stored in a cool and dry place. Do not store them inside your refrigerator.
Interesting Facts About Physalis
- The physalis belong to the Solanacae Other fruits or veggies that belong to this family include; potatoes, tomatillos, tomatoes, and aubergine. The scientific name of physalis is physalis peruviana.
- Physalis has very many alternative names. Some of them include; Inca berry, Aztec berry, Peruvian groundcherry, golden berry, Cape gooseberry, Pinchu berry, and ground cherry. The name Cape gooseberry originated from the British.
- Physalis is now grown all over the world, although it was first grown in Central and South America. Some of the major producers of physalis are China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Hawaii. These countries export physalis all over the world.
- Although physalis also goes by the name Cape gooseberry, it is in no way related to gooseberry. The two come from different families.
My Favorite Physalis Recipe
Physalis is a great addition to both savory and sweet recipes. I love it in several dishes, but nothing beats my flavorful fresh-garden salad that is super nutritious.
Here is a recipe for the salad that features physalis, carrots, red cabbage, and mixed salad greens.
- 5 carrots
- ¼ red cabbage
- 8 physalis (you can use more if you want)
- 1 bag of mixed salad greens
- Balsamic vinegar
- Lime juice
- Olive oil
- Remove the physalis from their husks and wash the berries thoroughly.
- Cut the physalis into sections and then cut the red cabbage into thin strips.
- Julienne the carrots.
- In a large salad bowl, place the red cabbage, carrots, mixed salad greens, and physalis.
- Make your vinaigrette. Mix the lime juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the vinaigrette into the other ingredients and then toss the salad well. Serve and enjoy!
If you have been wondering what physalis tastes like, you now have your answer. It has a sweet and tart flavor.
Not everyone likes physalis. This might be the reason why most supermarkets do not stock them often.
I personally do not mind the flavor of physalis because it is not as strong as that of durian or jackfruit. Its aroma is also mild, so I don’t mind it either.
If you have never tried physalis before, I suggest that you try it. You have nothing to lose. In fact, it may end up being one of your go-to berries. So just take the chance and let me know if you liked it.