Golden Berries – The New Superfruit?
Golden Berries ( also known as Cape gooseberry and the Aztec berry) are indigenous to South America, but has been cultivated in England since the late 18th century and in South Africa in the region of the Cape of Good Hope since at least the start of the 19th century.
Golden berries are native to South America, particularly the Amazon basin, which is how they became known as the ‘Inca Berry’. More recently they have been introduced into tropical and sub tropical climates around the world.
This Fruit of the Incas is fast becoming a notable super fruit and a valuable addition to our diets due to their wide range of beneficial nutrients, including antioxidant polyphenols and carotenoids.
Golden Berries boast the antioxidant compounds Vitamins C, A and bioflavonoids, as well as protein, B1, B2, B6, calcium, phosphorous, fiber and pectin.
Golden Berries are a unique tasting fruit that has a tart yet slightly sweet taste. Couple this with its soft texture and yellow orange colour it makes for an interesting and exotic addition to a variety of dishes.
So what is a Golden berry?
The Golden berry (Physalis peruviana) or Cape Gooseberry isn’t an actual gooseberry but a botanical relative to the tomato and potato. The Golden berry is one of the few non-native fresh fruits available to the early western settlers of Australia and has made its rounds throughout the worlds over hundreds of years as an exotic fruit.
The fruit, which is a small, bright yellow and extremely sweet when ripe, grows within a protective paper-like husk that looks like a Chinese lantern. It is believed in many cultures that in order to harvest the fruit at its best you should wait until the husk is completely dried. This ensures the Golden berry is at the peak of being ripe, creating a very rich, sweet and juicy berry.
What the science says
Scientific studies show constituents of the golden berry to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, this is possibly due to the polyphenol and/or carotenoid content. In vitro it has shown possible anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive properties.
Although still under researched, this berry has been used in folk medicine, as a medicinal herb to treat cancer, leukemia, malaria, asthma, hepatitis, dermatitis and rheumatism. None of these diseases, however, has been confirmed in human clinical in vivo studies as treatable by the Golden berry.
How to enjoy
Eat dried Golden berries straight out of the bag, or add to trail mix, yoghurt, muesli, lunch boxes, fruit cakes, muffin or cookie batter, make jam or pair with chocolate. Due to the sweet/tart flavour the golden berry can be used as an excellent substitute for apples in pies and crumbles.
Rawsome Apple and Golden berry crumble with Banana Cacao ice-cream
For the pie:
8 apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup Golden Berries, soaked in water and drained
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp Celtic Sea salt
For the banana cacao ice-cream:
5 frozen bananas
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp agave
To make filling for pie, in a food processor, place 2 apples with Golden berries, cinnamon and nutmeg, process until smooth.
In a bowl place remaining chopped apples and toss with lemon juice. Pour pureed filling mixture over top, mix well. Spoon apple mixture into a med sized lasagna pan and set aside.
For crumble, in a food processor, pulse walnuts, dates, cinnamon and salt until coarsely ground. Do not over mix. Crumble the mixture over the apples with your hands and press lightly.
To make the ice-cream, process bananas until smooth (takes a while) then add honey, vanilla and cacao and pulse til combined.
Serve the prepared rawsome crumble with a scoop of the banana cacao ice cream and enjoy the most delicious raw dessert ever!