Poha Berry – Physalis peruviana
Poha is the Hawaiian name, but they are also called golden berry and possibly most well known as Cape Gooseberry.
This little berry is great fresh but tends to degrade or become a bit bland like a lot of the other solanaceae family when cooked or heat is applied.
My favourite use is making it into an ice-cream or as a simple ‘fresh’ mash with cream etc.
The fruit is inside a small husk and about 1cm in diameter and the flavour is like a slightly lemony gooseberry/grape.
The plants are perennial and are very hardy. They grow better with sun and being well fed but tend to like it on the dry side. eg In a cold climate I grow some of them in large containers inside a glasshouse with the stems leading outside and up so the roots get heat but drain fast. These ones tend to produce more than the ones i have growing outside in the ground. They die back a fair bit each winter with the cold and then sprout and grow wild in early spring and then start to fruit in mid summer till very late autumn.
They grow very fast and very productively in a warm climate.
Generally to harvest you let the fruit husk start to brown off a little before picking them or leave them to simply fall to the ground and collect them. They can taste acceptable from a lime green colour but they really need to be fully ripe and orange and soft to the touch to get a good taste.
They seed and take cutting very easily and are very prolific once they get going.
This last photo shows a seedling that has come up by itself by simply leaving a pot under an actively growing plant.