Physalis

Rosi StoyanovaRosi Stoyanova
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Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova
Physalis

Physalis is a genus of plants from the nightshade family. The fruit are orange in color and resemble small tomatoes that are partially or fully encased in a paper-like pod that is formed from the dried flower of the plant. Physalis is also known as 'Chinese lantern', 'Cape gooseberry', 'gooseberry' and 'ground cherry'.

Physalis can be grown to decorate the home, but also for the edible fruits. The plants of this genus are about 70 species and about 20 of them have pleasant and edible fruit, 4-5 are cultivated.

Peruvian physalis originates from Brazil, but has spread naturally to Chile and Peru, where it was introduced as a crop by the Incas to the mountainous regions. Physalis is not a capricious plant, it can grow on any soil.

It is grown by direct sowing or by seedlings, which should be transplanted at 30-35 days of age. The seeds germinate at a temperature of 10-12°C. From 6 to 10 days after sowing, the sprouts themselves appear. The plants withstand up to -2°C, but at -3-4°C they need shelter. The plant reaches a height of up to 40 cm.

Physalis care is standard - loosening the soil, digging and in severe drought - watering. The plant must be fed twice with mineral fertilizers.

The natural paper bag of physalis fruit protects them from mechanical injuries, pests and ensures their durability up to 3 months after picking. Therefore, when buying physalis, pay attention to the integrity of the outer skin.

Physalis composition

Physalis cake

Physalis is rich in antioxidants, pectin, vitamin A, vitamin C, organic acids, trace elements. 100 g of physalis contain about 130 g of calories, 0.8 mg of niacin, 3 mg of iron, 90 g of water, 1.7 g of protein, 4.9 g of fiber, 20 mg of vitamin C, 11 g of carbohydrates.

Selection and storage of physalis

Choose fruit with a preserved outer skin, because as already mentioned, it provides them with a shelf life of up to 3 months. Avoid fruit that are missing their skin. Physalis can be purchased from major grocery stores.

Physalis in cooking

Physalis decoration

Physalis has a specific, slightly tart, fresh, sour to sweet taste. It is used to make salads, pickles, sauces, cocktails, soups, jams, liqueurs and various other drinks. In Mexico, physalis is a major ingredient in the green sauce "salsa verde".

The fruit are also used in confectionery to decorate various desserts and cakes. In addition, physalis can be dried, in this way it resembles raisins, known by the name inca berry. The gelling properties of physalis are highly valued by chefs. Physalis can be consumed directly - a handful daily. You can mix them with other fruit and make a healthy breakfast.

If you are going to boil jam or jelly from physalis, it is best to do it outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, because while it is boiling, a very unpleasant smell is emitted, which can permanently disgust you from the otherwise very tasty fruit.

Recipes with physalis

Physalis jam

Physalis jam

The pleasant sweet-sour taste is due to the high content of vitamin C. To make physalis jam, you will need the following ingredients:

- physalis - 1 kg;

- lemon - 1 piece;

- orange - 1 piece;

- ginger root - 30 g;

- sugar - 1 kg.;

- water - 250-300 ml.

Method of preparation:

1. Before starting, the fruit are poured for 3 minutes with boiling water to remove their sticky film, which gives a more bitter taste;

2. Pierce all the fruit with toothpicks to make sure that the syrup will get into them;

3. Cut the citrus fruit into small pieces;

4. Cut the ginger into slices;

5. Put the physalis in the sweetened water and let the mixture boil. Once it has boiled, add chopped ginger and citrus pulp;

6. After 10 minutes, remove the jam from the heat to cool well.

After cooling, the jam is boiled 2 more times for 10 minutes. Then it is poured in jars and left in a dark place.

Physalis sauce for meat and fish

It is ideal for various meat dishes as well as fish delicacies.

Ingredients needed:

- physalis - 450 g;

- white onion - 1 small onion;

- hot pepper - 1 pc.;

- garlic - 3 cloves;

- coriander - 1 tsp.;

- lime - 1 pc.;

- salt - 1 tsp.

Method of preparation:

1. Finely chop the onion, garlic and hot pepper, then put everything together in a smaller pot along with the physalis. Let the water boil and then reduce the heat and finally add the coriander;

2. Squeeze the lime juice and add as much salt as you like;

3. Boil for another 15 minutes until the physalis fruit darken;

4. Pass the slightly cooled mass through a blender along with the lime juice.

5. Add liquid, if needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce.

Marinated physalis

Products required:

- physalis;

- sugar;

- water;

- vinegar;

- some garlic;

- spices - celery and parsley.

Method of preparation:

1. Blanch the fruit in boiling water for 3 minutes to remove the sticky layer;

2. Start alternating them in pre-sterilized jars - a layer of physalis and a layer of spices;

3. Make the marinade from 1 liter of water, 50 grams of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar;

4. Pour the physalis with the still hot liquid;

5. Add the finely chopped garlic, if you wish, to the other ingredients and close the jars.

Use of physalis

The valuable plant is actively used in the field of landscape design and park decoration. Some varieties are useful in cooking and traditional medicine.

Physalis in folk medicine

Physalis tea

Recipes of traditional medicine are mainly based on the use of physalis fruits.

Pain relieving decoction

For this purpose, you will need 50 grams of physalis fruits, which are poured with 400 milliliters of water. Let the decoction boil for 15 minutes, then strain it and store it necessarily in the refrigerator.

Ointment for rheumatism

It is extremely useful for joint problems and for its preparation you will need only two ingredients - 10 grams of physalis and 40 grams of olive oil.

Method of preparation: Finely chop the physalis and add the olive oil. Mix everything well and leave the ointment in a dark place for 3 weeks. For joint problems, rub it into the painful areas. It is best used after taking a hot shower, so that it penetrates better into the sore area.

Decoction for colds

When it's cold outside, it's always a good idea to boost your immunity a bit and take care of your health. For this purpose, the decoction with physalis is ideal, which is a wonderful tool for the prevention and treatment of colds and flu.

Method of preparation:

Pour 500 milliliters of water and add 30 grams of physalis. Leave the decoction to boil for 15 minutes, then strain it and drink it half a cup 2 times a day in the period of respiratory diseases.

Benefits of physalis

Physalis is used medicinally as a powerful antioxidant. It has a calming effect and physalis leaf tea has an anti-asthmatic and diuretic effect. Physalis has antiseptic properties. It helps purify the blood and remove albumin from the kidneys. The antiseptic effect of the physalis fruit is widely recognized, they are considered to be useful for throat problems.

One of the most valuable properties of physalis is that when consumed frequently, it destroys internal parasites. Due to the flavonoids contained in the fruit, it has a calming effect. Regular consumption of physalis improves digestion. Physalis is considered a particularly healthy food for children. In addition, there is evidence that it can be consumed by diabetics without any restrictions.

Studies are underway that are likely to show that the immune-stimulating action is strong enough to fight certain types of cancer. In addition, physalis is said to have an antiviral effect on influenza, herpes, polio and HIV type 1.

Physalis benefits for women

1. Restores the deficiency of iron and manganese during the menstrual cycle;

2. Reduction of unpleasant symptoms during the premenstrual period;

3. Accelerates the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the genital organs;

Fig cake with physalis
Image: Lilia Tsacheva/Lipodve

4. Relieves depression, headache and muscle pain;

5. The decoction of the fruit helps to restore the menstrual cycle and in case of inflammation of the urinary system.

Physalis benefits for men

1. Cleanses the liver of accumulated alcohol and tobacco toxins;

2. Reduces the likelihood of impotence;

3. Helps prevent diseases of the genitourinary system;

4. Increases fertility and sperm quality;

5. Accelerates the accumulation of muscle mass if you do sports.

Dried Physalis - Inca Berry

Other useful properties of physalis

1. Increases immunity;

2. Removes harmful cholesterol;

3. Preventive agent against stroke and heart attacks;

4. Cleanses the body of heavy metals and toxins;

5. Reduces pain;

6. Has hemostatic properties;

7. Has choleretic and diuretic action;

8. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, gout, rheumatism, diabetes;

9. Strengthens hair, nails, teeth;

10. Eliminates bad breath;

11. Reduces the likelihood of cataract formation;

12. Compress from the fruit of physalis help to reduce swelling;

13. Helps with dermatitis.

Be very careful because physalis flowers are highly poisonous!

Contraindications for the use of physalis

In addition to the aforementioned poisonous action of physalis, its fruit should not be taken in case of:

1. Increased acidity of the stomach;

2. Hypotension or taking drugs to lower blood pressure, since physalis itself reduces it;

3. Pregnancy and breastfeeding - with caution, only with a doctor's permission;

4. In combination with caffeine - tachycardia, headache or joint problems are possible;

5. Reception of diuretics;

6. Individual intolerance to the fruit.

It is also forbidden to eat the unripe fruits of physalis, as this causes food poisoning.

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