Inca Berry Products
This berry is thought to be very exotic since it grows with a beautiful crisp lantern shaped calyx surrounding the fruit and looks rather outlandish. Indigo Herbs Organic Inca Berries are a perfect representation of this fantastic Peruvian fruit in dried form and are packed with more vitamin C than oranges. Inca Berries aren’t in fact a berry at all but related to the nightshade family with their closest relation being the tomatillo or ground tomato. These small marble shaped yellow fruits look exactly like small tomato’s but have a much sweeter citrus like taste.
An original resident of Peru, where it is called ‘aguaymanto’, this fruit travelled to Europe where it became very popular in late 18th century England. Loved for its papery calyx and striking looks the plant was eventually naturalised and grown throughout the UK. Inca Berry then travelled to South Africa and then to Australia under the name ‘Cape Gooseberry’. Mistaking this pseudonym for the origin of this fruit many people believed that the Inca Berry came from Africa. Some believe that Inca Berry is the lost crop of the Incas which led to Americans calling the fruit ‘Pichu berry’ after the famous Andean lost city of Machu Picchu.
The Inca Berry resembles the tomato plant although a little more robust. In fact at the height of the fruiting season the Physalis peruviana plant is less trouble to look after than the ordinary tomato. Shrub-like and typically around 1 metre in height, producing juicy berries ranging in colour from yellow through orange to light brown, and containing up to 200 small edible seeds. The thin pretty calyx that covers the fruit forms protection from birds, insects and bad weather.