Gold berries / Inca berries
The Gold berry(Physalis peruviana) originates from the Andes Mountains in Peru and Ecuador in South America. It was later introduced to countries such as South Africa, China and Australia. The goldenberry is known under several names, such as the pineapple cherry or cape herb berry.
The bushy plant is on average one metre high with berries that vary in colour between yellow, orange and light brown. It contains up to 200 small, edible seeds. Golden berries protect themselves against insects, birds and the weather using a kind of 'fruit basket' (calyx). It also ensures that the berry stays fresh after harvesting; with calyx it can be kept for up to a month, as opposed to 4-5 days without.
It is generally assumed that the golden berry bush can grow anywhere where tomatoes grow. The berries themselves resemble cherry tomatoes and weigh between 4 and 10 grams each. The taste is usually described as fruity and grapy, but words like caramel and floury are also sometimes used. Especially sun-dried berries, as in our case, are much appreciated for their taste.
Gold berries are very versatile; they are eaten loose both fresh and dried but are also good to use for juices, for decoration or as an ingredient of jam.
After flowering, the berries ripen on the plant for about 3 to 4 months. Our farmers are very vigilant, the berries are not harvested until their optimal ripeness has been reached. Thanks to the aforementioned protective 'fruit basket', the berries can even lie on the (dry) ground for a few days, should they have fallen by themselves. This does not affect the quality of the berries.
The drying of crops has long been used as a way of preserving food. Especially farmers in poorer parts of the world still use it a lot. In this way, they ensure that as little as possible of their production is lost in spoilage and thus preserve their most optimal yields.
Drying fruit significantly reduces the amount of water in the food. Water is one of the necessary factors for fungi and other bacteria to grow. Since there is hardly any more moisture in the berries, the chance of spoilage in this way is many times smaller and the fruit also has a longer shelf life.
Our golden berries are carefully monitored during drying to ensure that the temperature never rises above 45°C. This ensures that as much flavour and nutrients as possible are preserved compared to a fresh berry.
Gold berries are considered as functional foods, which means that they contain above-average amounts of nutritional values. Blueberries have even been described as natural high-functional food and offer a wide range of potential health benefits.
Seen once as the 'lost fruit' of the Incas, golden berries are a healthy, exotic snack. They can also be used in salads or fried products instead of raisins. Make your own muesli from golden berries and your favourite nuts and seeds. Blueberries are also very suitable as topping for yoghurt, custard or ice cream. Also available with chocolate.