On Friday, April 5th, 2019, I ventured to the St. Lawrence Market to hunt for a fruit that I do not have much exposure to. I chose to do this at the St. Lawrence Market for various reasons. The first reason being how it is widely regarded as one of the best food markets in the world and second is how close it is to school.
Searching through all the many produce stalls, the fruit I have decided to purchase was physalis, also known as ground cherries, cape gooseberries or golden berries. I chose this fruit because it was one of the only fruits I was able to find at the market that I have not tasted before. I also noticed that some stalls sold the berries without the husk, so I chose to get some that still included the paper-like shell.
The physalis I bought comes from Colombia. According to Julia F. Morton (1987) the physalis is called ” uvilla, uchuva, vejigón or guchavo in Colombia”. The fruit typically grows in tropical and subtropical areas including Peru, Chile, or even the Philippines. The physalis comes from the Solanaceae family of flowering plants. Other members of this family include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, chili peppers, and even tobacco.
I bought a small 100g of physalis for about 4 dollars. Most of the other produce stalls also sold it at about the same price, regardless if the husk was still on or not.
In Colombia, the fruit can grow every month of the year due to the preferred climate needed for the physalis. The fruit would not be able to grow in a location like Canada so it will always be an export.
- Taste – Bitter-sweet and tropical tasting, almost like a mango
- Smell – While whole, smells almost like a tomato. Cut in half, there was a mixed aroma of citrus, kiwi, and even some mango.
- Sight – Yellow-orange in looks. Resembles a cherry tomato in size and shape. Looks very unique when husk still attached.
- Hearing – The husk of the fruit felt very paper-like and when crumpled, sounded similar
- Touch – Feels almost like an unripe cherry tomato. Biting into it also felt like eating an unripe cherry tomato as well. Felt slightly slimy on the outside of the skin. Husk felt like paper or like dried leaves.
If I were to cook this fruit, I would make a jam. Since the berry has a sweetness and a tartness to it, I think it could work well in a jam. I found a recipe by Taruna Deepak from her blog “Easy Food Smith”. I think this recipe would compliment the natural acidity from the fruit by incorporating orange and lime juice. The addition of both sugar and honey to add more sweetness to help with the bitterness.
1 kg grams (6 cups) Cape Gooseberries
1½ cup Sugar
½ cup Honey
½ quill Cinnamon, optional (add one quill for stronger cinnamon notes)
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp lime juice
Going on this Fruit hunt was a great experience. I was able to see so many fresh fruits and produce. Several that I do not see very often. The St. Lawrence Market is a place that I would like to go more often. There are so many different kinds of vendors ranging from produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, and even freshly prepared food.
Below you can view a small video I created documenting my experience hunting for fruit. It also includes other things that I discovered and tasted for the first time.