My friend Iride gifted me with this new strange fruit: Chinese Lantern or also Physalis Alkekengi
Is a relative of Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry), easily identifiable by the larger, bright orange to red papery covering over its fruit, which resemble paper lanterns. It is native from southern Europe east across southern Asia to Japan. It is a popular ornamental plant, vividly colored, orange-red, lantern-shaped fruits.
It’s also known as Chinese lantern, is part of the Nightshade family and generally used as an ornamental plant due to the red husk of the flower. This plant is native to throughout Asia and in Southern Europe. Enclosed in the red lantern-shaped flower is a small berry, which is slightly yellow and has a flavor similar to a sweet tomato.
This berry is difficult to find in the United States and may only be available in specialty stores or farmers’ markets in the spring. Despite its strange papery enclosure, Chinese lantern berries are quite simple to eat and use in cooking.
These fruits are rich in vitamin A and C, as well as phosphorous, calcium and iron.
How to eat? Cut the berries as a replacement for cherry tomatoes in salads and as a garnish. Due to the similar taste, lantern berries make excellent substitutions for small tomatoes in an array of dishes. Chinese lantern berries contain the powerful antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which may help to prevent oxidative-related diseases, such as arthritis, although further research is necessary.
Pull down the husk to reveal the yellowish berry. You can eat it right off the stem as a snack, similar to grapes. According to C. Mishra in “Biotechonology Applications,” these berries may help to improve metabolism and have a diuretic and laxative effect. They are also rich in pectin — a complex carbohydrate that may help prevent constipation.
You can use Chinese lantern berries in place of several fruit desserts, but you will always need to prepare them first by heating them with water and sugar until they are soft. Depending on your preference, you can adjust the sugar content for desserts and sauces.
I preferred to made a very easy smoothie to go! I used
2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
2 cups of Chinese lanterns, pitted
1 tsp cinnamon
Blended spinach and almond milk until smoothed. Next I added the remaining fruits and blended again.
This wonderfully cheerful magic herb is associated to Venus on account of its bright orange-red lanterns, which sometimes give the plant the name “Love in a Cage.” The lanterns are great for love magic and make wonderful cut or dried flowers because they keep their color for a long time, being especially good to see on gloomy fall days […] you can read more on this website!