What Are Cape Gooseberries? And Are Cape Gooseberries Healthy?
What Are Cape Gooseberries?
Cape gooseberries look like an orange cherry tomato and taste like a sweet version of a cherry tomato. They also have a paper-like cape on the outside that should be removed before eating.
They’re known by various names throughout the world (e.g., Physalis, Physalis peruviana, Inca berry, Aztec berry, golden berry, giant ground cherry, African ground cherry, Peruvian groundcherry, Peruvian cherry, or amour en cage). Cape gooseberries are now grown in many countries with Columbia being the major producer.
In particular, you might find that the dried fruit is often called goldenberry (and sometimes Pichuberry to associate them with Peru). You can even buy dried goldenberries to eat as a snack on Amazon.com.
While gooseberry is in the name of this fruit, cape gooseberries are not gooseberries. Instead they are a nightshade and are closely related to the tomatillo. Because the cape gooseberry is a nightshade (click here to see a list of nightshades), they are not permitted on the AIP (Paleo autoimmune protocol) diet. Note, however, that since the typical gooseberry is NOT a nightshade, they are permitted on the AIP diet.
What Do Cape Gooseberries Taste Like?
Cape gooseberries are very mildly sweet when ripe (they are toxic if eaten unripe). It’s not as juicy as a cherry tomato but they have little seeds in them that give them a slight crunch.
This website describes the taste as “something like a tomato with a sourness at the end like cranberries.”
Are Cape Gooseberries Healthy?
Cape gooseberries are pretty healthy – they are fairly high in vitamin A and vitamin C (see nutritional data below) and are a good source of antioxidants.
A 2009 study concluded that cape gooseberries extracts could protect against certain liver damage (the study was performed on rats).
A 2014 study concluded that extracts from cape gooseberries could protect against kidney injury induced by cisplatin.
It’s also suggested that cape gooseberries are used in folk medicine for anticancer, antimicrobial, antipyretic, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, every fruit and vegetable has some beneficial components to it, but that doesn’t make them a magic health pill. And eating anything in huge excess can be toxic.
So, while there are some health benefits to cape gooseberries, you should just regard them as a fun and interesting addition to your diet. And if you have autoimmune conditions, then you should consider avoiding cape gooseberries as well as other nightshades.
Are Cape Gooseberries Paleo?
Yes, while cape gooseberries are not permitted on the AIP diet because they are a nightshade, they are considered Paleo-friendly. If you want to give them a try, you can find several gluten-free and Paleo cape gooseberry recipes below.
Cape Gooseberry Nutrition (per 100 g)
These is the nutritional data for cape gooseberries from the USDA website.
Water – 85.40 g
Energy – 53 kcal
Energy – 222 kJ
Protein – 1.90 g
Total fat – 0.70 g
Ash – 0.80 g
Total Carbohydrate – 11.20 g
Calcium, Ca – 9 mg (1% DV)
Iron, Fe – 1.00 mg (6% DV)
Phosphorus, P – 40 mg (4% DV)
Vitamin C – 11.0 mg (18% DV)
Thiamin – 0.110 mg (7% DV)
Riboflavin – 0.040 mg (2% DV)
Niacin – 2.800 mg (14% DV)
Vitamin B-12 – 0.00 µg (O% DV)
Vitamin A – 720 IU (14% DV)
Paleo Cape Gooseberry Recipes
Cape gooseberries when ripe can be eaten raw like other fruits or can be dried and eaten as a snack (click here to buy dried goldenberries on Amazon.com..
According to this article, they can also be canned whole and preserved as jam, made into sauces, used in pies, puddings, chutneys, and ice cream, and eaten fresh in fruit salads and fruit cocktails. In Colombia, the fruits are stewed with honey and eaten as dessert.
Here are a few Paleo cape gooseberry recipes to try out if you find some at the store:
1. Dark Chocolate Covered Gooseberries
2. Sugar-Free Gooseberry Refrigerator Jam
3. Cape Gooseberry Crumble
4. Raw Cocoa Pichuberry Tart