When you grow your own fruits and vegetables, there's a certain excitement that comes with picking out a new variety of seed or transplant. Scanning the seed catalogs especially makes you realize that the abundance of nature is so much more than the sparse offerings that you'll find at the grocery store.
This year I grew a plant that I've never heard of, let alone seen in my local grocery store. The seed packet I bought called the plant by the name Goldenberry, but I've since learned that Goldenberry is synonymous with Cape Gooseberry and Peruvian Ground Cherry. Are any of these names familiar to you?
The Goldenberry is a relative of the tomato and needs very similar growing conditions. The plants grow in a mounded 2-3 foot tall shrub, which later spreads and sprawls a bit as the plant gets weighed down by fruit and foliage.
Goldenberry produces numerous paper lanterns each containing a juicy berry.
I was very surprised by the prolific nature of this plant. Production didn't slow down even when the foliage was being feasted on by flea beetles and other leaf munchers.
When the paper lanterns begin to dry out, the fruit is ready to pick.
The berries have a taste all their own. There's a faint tomato flavor, but there is also something distinctly tropical and exotic about them. I bet they would make excellent jam, but they're good for just popping in your mouth too. If you're looking for something new for next year's veggie garden, consider giving Goldenberry a try.