The Peruvian Physalis is known by various common names, Cape gooseberry (Cape gooseberry), goldenberry (golden berry, but now commercially in the world the name Inca berries (berries of the Incas)

Inca berries properties and benefits

When fresh, consume these delicious fruits in peace because they are low in calories, they also have a decent content of vitamin C and Niacin (B3) and phosphorus. In the dehydrated version it increases the calorie intake but you will also find concentrated polyphenols and other numerous beneficial substances.

Nutritional values ​​of inca berries

As usual when it comes to dehydrated fruit you have to make the difference between those of the fresh product and those of the dehydrated version. If we talk about the fresh product, containing fresh fruit a lot of water, the classic 100 gram ration that is taken as a comparison to compare the nutritional properties contains 11mg of vitamin C, 2.8mg of Niacin, and 36 micrograms of vitamin A. If we talk about it in terms of daily requirement 19% of Niacin (vitamin B3) stands out. So a decent, but not huge, vitamin content, the good news is that Inca berries are very low in calories, 100 grams provide only 53 kilocalories. Other nutrients worth mentioning are the phosphorus content (40mg) but above all the unsaturated fats (oleic and linoleic acids) contained in the oil obtained from the seeds. Speaking instead of the dehydrated product, the caloric content becomes important, around 320/330 kilocalories, but also the vitamin content (for example that of vitamin A becomes 1020 micrograms which is more than the recommended daily ration) and above all that in polyphenols and other antioxidants. like the beta-carotene of which the inca berries are rich.

History and cultivation

The scientific name Physalis peruviana explains the origin of this golden berry, in particular it is found on the slopes of the mountains of Peru and Chile. While in the places of origin the beginning of cultivation dates back to the Incas, in the Old Continent the cultivation was introduced in the United Kingdom from the end of the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the following century it spread to South Africa, around the area of ​​the Cape of Good Hope, hence the origin of the most common name, Cape gooseberry. Only in the twentieth century did cultivation finally spread to various temperate and tropical areas of the world. Physalis is now called by a different name in virtually every part of the world where it is known. We like to remember the French name "amour en cage" (love in a cage), it is also known as Chinese lantern and it is not strange since the Chinese of the Heilongjiang province call it deng long guo which means lantern fruit, name generated by the shape of the chalice that contains the fruit.

Inca berries in the diet

The vitamin content as mentioned is decent but it is not among the highest comparing it with other foods of the same weight, but the low calorie intake means that you can eat them without worry about the line as we have seen, and therefore also the intake of vitamins and salt. Let's say they have an excellent (low) calorie / vitamin ratio. Studies have also been published that highlight the polyphenol content indicating a possible antioxidant action of inca berries.

Plant and fruit

As usual the common names based on the appearance can deceive the Peruvian Physalis despite the common name gooseberry is not botanically related to the plants of the currant genus, but is a solanacea, therefore strictly related to tomatoes, aubergines and potatoes. Physalis is an annual plant (the entire life cycle ends in a year, after the release of the seed dies) in temperate climates and perennial in the tropics. In this second case it develops in large bushes with branches that can reach a height of 1.6m and spread a lot. The fruit is a berry (fruit without a stone) that resembles a small golden tomato. The berry is contained in a lantern-shaped chalice as we have seen talking about the names. In the region of origin, Physalis is found between 500 and 3000 meters, but in the tropical islands of the Pacific where it was introduced, you can easily find it even at sea level. Currently cultivated in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions in Australia, China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines, it fears frost, but does not fear abundant rainfall if the soil is well drained. It grows vigorously in the landssandy ni.

Inca berries in the kitchen

We haven't found many real recipes that use Inca berries as ingredients, at least not in Italian, but in addition to absolute consumption there are many combinations proposed and are used around the world for various fruit-based preparations such as jams and sauces. Having a not very sweet taste, think of a sweet tomato with a tart citrus-like aftertaste, it is used in combination with sweet foods to rebalance the taste. There is recommended the Inca berries in yogurt and some in combination with chocolate. They are eaten fresh in salads and fruit salads. In South America they are used both in alcoholic fruit-based cocktails (batida) and in fruit smoothies.

However in the end we chose an American recipe (if you are surprised by the quantities that are not exactly round figures it is because we have converted from American measures)

Muesli and inca berries bars (possibly in gluten-free and vegan versions)

Ingredients for six servings

64gr of cashews in pieces

32gr of chopped almonds

32gr of oats (choose the gluten-free version if you want a recipe suitable for celiacs)

64gr of unsweetened coconut flakes

57gr of almond butter.

85gr of honey (use maple syrup for the vegan version)

32gr of crushed cold inca berries

32gr of dried blueberries

a pinch of sea salt (optional)


1) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2) Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

3) Stir until the mixture becomes homogeneous.

4) Line a 6x6 pan with parchment paper and pour the muesli mixture into the pan.

5) Use an extra sheet of baking paper to place it over the mixture and flatten it.

6) Remove the top sheet of baking paper before baking.

7) Cook for 12-15 minutes or a little longer if you prefer browning.

8) Sprinkle the baked bars with sea salt (optional)

9) Wait for it to cool and then cut into bars.


Data sheet

Carboidrati di cui zuccheri
Valore energetico (calorie)

Specific References

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