Seed Review: Thompson & Morgan Golden Berry

In a new feature on Homegrown Revolution we’ll review the success and flavor of our crops beginning with Physalis pruinosa, a.k.a ground cherry, husk cherry, or strawberry tomato. When we planted these seeds we posted on the confusing array of names that this neglected branch of the nightshade family has gathered over the years–we’ll use the scientific name in the interest of precision.

Our Physalis pruinosa, planted in April has born fruit for the past two months and seems to be nearing its end of production. We agree with Steven’s comment on our original post that the flavor is not as pronounced as some would have you believe. The fruit tastes like a slightly sweet tomato with, sad to say, a slight hint of gastric reflux. Perhaps it would be tastier cooked down into a jam but we don’t have enough of a crop to make more than one small jar. The plant itself grew easily with no pest problems, but did start to look unhappy in the heat of the summer.
We probably won’t grow it again, but will let the plant reseed itself. The chickens have spent some time pecking at the fallen fruit and seem to enjoy it about as much as we do, which is to say not all that much.

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  1. I also grew physalis pruinosa this year (seedling of Aunt Molly’s ground cherry from Seed Savers Exchange). The plant grew quite rapidly and produced tons of fruit. The fruit was quite sweet and had the texture of a cross between a dense tomato and a plum. I didn’t notice the citrus flavor that the catalog mentioned. The flavor is hard to describe. I did notice a slight yuck taste…kind of a over ripe taste, but it wasn’t that strong and you stop noticing it after you eat the first few.

  2. I can’t put my finger on the aftertaste, but “gastric reflux” and “yuck” are pretty close.

    As for the reseeding, I’m finding it all over the yard and in the compost area and the critters and birds aren’t touching the fruit.

  3. Growing their cousin the tomatillo is far more rewarding and tastier. Nothing quite like salsa verde made with tomatillos and good green chilies!

  4. You want to grow the Golden Berry/Cape Gooseberry. That is the Ground Cherry.

    Physalis peruviana: yummy
    Physalis pruinosa: weird aftertaste

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