Just a few of these guys I picked for an afternoon snack the other day, but this autumn crop is ripening like crazy.Â Are you familiar with this unusual and tasty fruit?
This fruit grows on leggy plants 3 1/2 – 4 ft tall, and is produced on the underside of branches.Â The plant’s leaves are palm-sized or a bit bigger, with velvety-soft texture and a slight purple-ish hue.Â Â It is one of my favorite annual crop plants, with a handsome shape and gentle on the skin (especially well-suited to a child’s garden).
Fruit are produced in slightly fuzzy, lantern-shaped husks (also known as “capes”), which turn from green to yellow and dry to a papery texture as the fruit matures.
Ripe ones are easy to spot on their bright yellow husks.Â The first-set fruit (and thus the first to ripen) are closest to the stem, with younger fruit extending out and down the branches.
Fresh off the plant, the fruit tastes taste like lime + pineapple and are refreshingly tart, with a hint of sweetness.Â The citrus quality makes them a great addition to sangria or iced tea when sliced up.
Baked in a pie or tart, they mellow and are simply delicious.Â Jams are also fantastic.
Do you know this sweeter relative of the tomatillo?
It is the Cape Gooseberry, Physalis peruviana, also known as the Giant Ground Cherry, Pok Pok,or Aztec Berry.
Next February, when you’re starting your tomatoes and tomatillos from seed, consider starting a half-dozen to a dozen of these truly special heirlooms.