All About Golden Berries
Golden berries are not that well-known unless you do a lot of shopping in health food stores or buy foods online. Golden berries are also known as cape gooseberries, and they have a flavor that is somewhat like a pineapple. The berries are also sold dried and these are a dark orange color with a wrinkled look like raisins.
Golden berries are native to Brazil and but then made their way into Peru and Chile. The plant made the trip to England and was grown at the Cape of Good Hope by settlers in the early 1800s. From there golden berries traveled to Australia and Hawaii. They have never been exceptionally popular in the United States but are now receiving more attention.
In colder climates golden berries are an annual but they are a perennial in warm and tropical regions. The plant cannot survive any type of frost. It spreads like a vine and can reach a height of six feet if you stake the plants or have a wall for it to grow against. The flowers are shaped like a bell and are yellow with a purple center. After the flowers have fallen off, the calyx of the plant expands into a large husk, much bigger than the fruit inside.
Golden berries take a long time to mature, anywhere from seventy to eighty days. The berry is smooth with an orange-yellow skin. The pulp inside is juicy and has seeds. As the berries mature they drop to the ground but still turn from green to orange. The green berries must be treated with caution as it is reported that they are poisonous to some people.
If you want to grow golden berries, you need to live in a warm, frost-free location, such as California or Hawaii. They like well-drained soil but if you want a lot of berries, you will need to make sure your plants have plenty of water. You don’t have to worry about frequent fertilization as golden berries grow best when not fertilized at all. Fertilizer seems to cause the leaves to grow excessively, so much so that the plant does not set fruit. When left alone your plants will produce plenty of berries. If you have any nights with frost in your area you will need to cover the berry plants on those nights.
You can grow these berries from seed. They are very tiny with 5000 to 8000 seeds in one ounce. You might want to mix them with ashes or soil when you scatter them during planting. Golden berries need lots of humidity to get a good growing start. They are also bothered by any number of diseases and pests, such as powdery mildew and other root rots and viruses. Pests can include fruit moths, stem borers, leaf borers, and three kinds of beetles--the Colorado potato beetle, striped cucumber beetle and the flea beetle.
Golden berries can just be eaten as they ripen. They are also used in salads and dishes such as casseroles. They are often used for dessert, sometimes added to apple dishes or dipped in chocolate or sugar. These berries are very high in pectin and that makes them very useful for jams and jellies. When dried, they are often used as raisins and can add a unique flavor to dried fruit and nut mixes.
Golden berries are not very well-known in the United States because the only state that grows them aside from Hawaii is California. Because they have so many diseases and are bothered by numerous pests, they are not often grown as a cash crop. These berries are more often grown in Mexico and imported into the U.S. They keep well so there is no problem with transporting them.