Golden Berries - My newest addiction.

04 Feb Denial

Golden Berries

These are not anemic raisins. Their botanic name is  Physalis peruviana, but you can find them in health food stores under many different  names  — golden berries, Inca berries, cape gooseberries, or ground cherries to list a few. No matter what the manufacturer calls them, these harmless-looking berries should come with a flashing, neon warning label that hollers phrases like, “Approach with caution!” and “May cause addiction!”

But they don’t. Instead the packaging touts them as an antioxidant-rich “Superfood.” You’ll see them advertised as “Non-GMO,” “Low GI,” and “High Fibre.” The contents might even be “Certified Organic.” As if all those capital letters mean anything. Nowhere, not even in the fine print, will you be warned of their Addicting Nature. But I know the truth.

From the second I opened the bag, they hooked me. Their citrusy-vanilla-floral aroma is nearly impossible to resist — or pin down. And like a good food writer, I had to nail a description for you. So I experimented. Several times a day.

Sure, at first it was “Research,” then it was a “Small Snack.” Pretty soon I was making hourly rounds to the pantry — for just a handful. I’m now up to a small bowl at a sitting. Their sweet-tart flavour combined with the fig-like seeds are utterly compelling, yet defy a description beyond, “They leave you wanting more.” The proof? Within a week of discovering golden berries, I had ploughed through an entire one-pound bag — on my own.

Golden Berries - My newest addiction.

I’m four-weeks into my relationship with golden berries. I quit for a few days just to show them who’s boss. Yesterday, I caved and had “just a few.” In my defence, I was resisting chocolate chips.  This morning, I had a few more, then a few more. I wrote this with a small bowl of them at my elbow. I don’t know if I could have finished the post without them. Now, I’m eyeing the tail end of my third pound and planning my next pick up.

It’s too late for me. I pray it’s not too late for you.

Are you addicted to golden berries or have you learned to control the urge? Share your willpower secrets and save a fellow reader.

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  • Gloria
    Posted at 15:36h, 04 February Reply

    I’m with you on this Charmian. Those dried golden berries are delicious, addictive and good for you. They are equally delicious fresh, if you can find them. We tried to grow them in the garden a few years back but we started them too late and never saw a single fruit.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:28h, 04 February Reply

      Fresh golden berries are fleeting. I saw them at the local Farmers’ Market last year, and foolishly didn’t pick any up. Good to know they’re as good fresh as they are dried.

      I didn’t think of growing them. I wonder if my garden has room? Off to do more research, you Enabler, you! :-)

  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 16:56h, 04 February Reply

    Absolutely grow them. They are wonderful in the garden and at our house get gobbled fresh so we’ve never dried our home grown. One time I procured a bag dried from our local bulk foods for a work and proceeded to eat a pound worth on the car ride to the office. !!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:59h, 04 February Reply

      Oh, you make me feel so good. I nibbled away a pound in a week and felt guilty. On the upside, they are WAY healthier than M&Ms.

      I’m definitely going to grow some. I just have to find a good location and a supplier. I would love to try drying my own, but just so I can say I did it. I couldn’t possibly dry enough to keep me going for a full year.

      Where did you find them in bulk? I looked at The Bulk Barn and they didn’t even have them in packages.

      • Amy Proulx
        Posted at 11:06h, 06 February Reply

        Our local Bulk Barn has them in bulk on occasion. I’ve purchased them a few times in various Niagara Region stores. I got my seeds from William Dam, out in the other “Christies Corner” near Flamborough.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 18:15h, 06 February Reply

          Thanks, Amy! I can’t wait to start growing my own golden berries!

  • Herbivore Triathlete
    Posted at 20:19h, 04 February Reply

    You’ve peaked my curiosity, I must find these Golden Berries you speak of.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:22h, 04 February Reply

      Do! But only buy a small bag. You might not be able to stop munching. I see your last post was about granola. These would be a fabulous substitution for the dried cranberries.

      I get dried golden berries at the local independent health food store. They were in with the goji berries, chia seeds and other “superfoods.”

  • HF
    Posted at 12:51h, 05 February Reply

    Finally I’ve found my people! We grow many plants each year, and the fruit barely makes it into the house. They have no trouble ripening in the cold PNW. In fact they volunteer! I best like “Aunt Molly’s” ground cherries from Territorial seeds.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:04h, 05 February Reply

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ll be looking into Aunt Molly’s! And if they volunteer? I’m all the happier.

      From what I hear, the fresh berries are even more delicious — if that’s possible. Thanks again for sharing your source. I can’t wait to grow my own.

  • Gloria
    Posted at 15:03h, 05 February Reply

    I got my seeds from Stellar Seeds, an organic seed grower in BC.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:32h, 05 February Reply

      Wonderful! Thanks so much for this information. Territorial Seeds is based in the US and I know shipping seeds across the border isn’t always easy or doable. Good to have a Canadian resource!

      I am definitely going to be scoping out some space in my garden for these.

  • Megg
    Posted at 14:17h, 06 February Reply

    I’d never even heard of ground cherries until I moved to Canada. In summer, they’re all over the farmer’s markets in Montreal. I’ve only ever had them fresh (and found them quite addicting that way!) but now I’ll have to seek out dried ones! I’ll take your advice and be careful! :)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:17h, 06 February Reply

      I hope you like them. I love their sweet-tart combination and am curious to try them fresh. I’m now kicking myself for not buying them at the Farmers’ Market when I saw them, but I was so into the peaches nothing else mattered.

  • cindy schemlzer
    Posted at 22:17h, 30 April Reply

    I love them and can’t put them down. But I found out I have to have less fruit and I can’t find the Glycemic level for them. Do you know their number? I don’t know if I can give them up.

  • magazzinaggio
    Posted at 03:53h, 29 May Reply

    Ottimo articolo, ne faro’ un punto di riferimento, chissa’ che quanto letto non possa aiutare anche me.

  • James
    Posted at 12:10h, 28 October Reply

    Once you have them, you’ll have them most likely forever, We planted, what we call ground cherries, four or five years ago. Never replanted them, still have them. They’ll seed themselves in the most unlikely places. I think the birds are responsible for that. We have never called them golden berries, but they sure look exactly the same. They are sweet, with just a hint of tang. They are great in pies or mixed in with other fruit. When the pie comes out of the oven it’s like you made a huge buttertart. Difference of course: this is much healthier

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 19:08h, 28 October Reply

      Alas, my ground cherries never got off the ground this year. I have been warned they are enthusiastic and was prepared for a big harvest — had my dehydrator ready — but the seedlings died when I was on vacation and we just never got back to them. Next year. I have more seeds waiting.

      I’ve never had them in pies, but they sound amazing and I’m more than willing to experiment. I was hoping to save some money since the ones at the health food store are very pricey. If you have a food dehydrator you might want to try a few to see if you like them that way.

      I think ground cherries are related to tomatillos. That’s another plant that is happy to volunteer its services once it sets root. Thanks for the warning. I look forward to next year’s invasion.

  • mkfresh
    Posted at 15:19h, 02 November Reply

    so how many are too much!!!!????

  • DUDE
    Posted at 14:03h, 16 June Reply

    I was told by the salesperson in an organic shop not to over-eat golden berries and she recommends as few as 3 (dried) ones a day!
    So I did what she said… Now I found myself eating like 20 so I looked it up… Is it actually preferable to eat few? why?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:09h, 22 September Reply

      Three? Does she mean three handfuls? I eat that many, easily. My guess is they are high in sugar and fibre and can give you intestinal issues. I eat a lot of fibre so it’s not an issue for me. I don’t see the point of three single golden berries.

  • DUDE
    Posted at 14:03h, 16 June Reply

    I was told by the salesperson in an organic shop not to over-eat golden berries and she recommends as few as 3 (dried) ones a day!
    So I did what she said… Now I found myself eating like 20 so I looked it up… Is it actually preferable to eat few? why? Maybe because of the price? 😛

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