OH Also known as husk tomato they originated in an area extending from northern Mexico through to Central America. The fruits fall from the bush when they are ripe, hence the name: “ground cherry”, and a single plant can produce more than 100 fruits. The Latin name Physalis, means bladder, which refers to the husk and pruinosa refers to the frosty appearance of fine, white hairs on the leaves and young husk. This variety is a Polish heirloom brought to Pennsylvania, USA by immigrants in the early 1800s. They have a low, spreading habit, and sweet and prolific golden orange coloured fruit (2cm diameter) that develop in a papery husk, which is characteristic of the genus and their cousins, Cape Gooseberries and Tomatillos. Kids and adults alike love to eat them straight out of the garden, as their flavour is reminiscent to pineapple and strawberries, so sweet and refreshing! If you can manage getting some into the kitchen, their high pectin content makes them good for fruit pies and preserves, they can also be used to make salsa, or in green salads to provide a fresh zesty flavour or pair a preserve with pork or other meat dish. A word of caution, as they are in the Solanaceae family most parts of the plant (leaves, stems, husk and unripe fruit) are toxic to humans due to the presence of solanine and solanidine. Make sure only ripe (orange) fruit are eaten.
Sow in August/September into trays in a glasshouse. Keep soil temp above 18°C for ideal germination. Prick out when true leaves appear to 4cm diagonal spacing. Can pot on to small pots to further develop roots. Transplant after last frost to 40cm diagonal spacing into fertile ground in direct sun.