Goose Berry growing in South Africa
Gooseberries are probably one of the more well-known berry plants and fruits in South Africa. Other than the processed products, the fresh fruit are now found in more markets and chain stores during the last couple of years. The market for this highly valued and nutritional berry is increasingly growing as our market also tends to focus more on organic and healthier food options.
Cape Gooseberry – Physalis peruviana
Physalis was originally discovered and named in Peru and was known to the Incas. It is an herbaceous perennial which grows wild in the Andes. Its common name originated in Australia after its journey from South Africa to the Cape of Good Hope, even though it is not a native to the Cape Province.
It is a straggling, upright bushy shrub, up to 1.8m tall that bears yellow fruit inside a brown papery envelope, resembling a Chinese lantern, called a husk. With a sweet pineapple-like flavour, the fruit (also called Inca berry or ground cherry) is native to South America.
Grows and fruits well in a pot or may be used as a border plant where the soft grey-green foliage can be used to offset other species. It can also serve as a great border filler, where the fruit can be accessed and freely eaten.
- Gooseberries are low in calories; 100 g of fresh berries hold just 44 calories. As in blackcurrants, they too have significantly high amounts of phenolic phytochemicals, especially flavones and anthocyanins. Both of these compounds have been found to have numerous health-benefiting effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
- The berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C. 100 g of fresh berries provide 27.7 μg or 46% of daily-recommended intake values of vitamin C. Research studies have shown that consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop immunity against infectious agents, and help scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals from the human body.
- They carry a small amount of vitamin-A. 100 g berries have 290 IU or 10% of RDA of this vitamin. Vitamin-A required for maintaining the integrity of mucosa and skin and essential component of the visual cycle. Also, consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamins and flavonoid antioxidants has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Fresh berries contain small amounts of essential vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). Some of these vitamins are essential in the sense that the body requires them for metabolism from external sources to replenish.
- Furthermore, gooseberries contain moderate levels of minerals such as copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
The berry is high in protein, contains vitamins C, A, a few B vitamins as well as iron, potassium, niacin, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Gooseberries also have pectin which assists with digestion, lowers cholesterol and prevents the increase of glucose levels in the body, making them the perfect snack for people who are sensitive to glucose.
Seeing that the Cape Gooseberry has a long shelve live of up to 25 days, it is a very good berry to market fresh to national and exporting markets.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]
Gooseberries should not be planted where heavy frost collects as they are frost-tender and can be injured at areas where the winter temperatures usually drops below -4’C. Frost protection should be used if chosen to plant in such extreme cold areas of the country.
The plants can be pruned back after all frosts have passed. The plants can handle periods of drought. Too much moisture could encourage fungal problems.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]
Plant density varies but 4000 to 6000 plants per Ha is usually planted.
The gooseberry can be found in a neat paper like wrapping called a husk, which closely resembles Chinese Lanterns. In some areas they are also referred to this name. If the berry is left in its husk after harvest, it can have a shelve life of 30 days plus even at room temperatures.
If the fruit is left inside the intact in its husks, its shelf life can be more than 30 days at room temperature. If removed from the husk it can be kept fresh for a couple of days if refrigerated.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]
Our hardened seedlings (plugs) can start to produce fruit within 1oo days after planting.The industry standard requires a berry with a diameter of a minimum of 12mm. We here at Berries For Africa grow and supply gooseberry varieties that are fairly sweet, good color and firmness and with an exceptionally large fruit with a diameter of up to 27mm.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]
Some diseases such as powdery mildew and soft brown scale can be found.
There are many organic and conventional pesticides and fungicides registered to be used on gooseberries in SA such as mineral oils, natural pyrethrums, copper soaps, azoxystobin, copper oxychloride etc.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]