I’ve done a lot of crazy things for food, as you will realize when you read this post. This Easy Cape Gooseberry Preserve is the result of one such crazy food story. We spent much of the latter half of December and the first half of this month travelling. Early this month we were back in Goa for the wedding of our friends’ daughter. We decided to turn the trip into a short vacation, catching up with family and friends.
This time of the year is the best for the cooler weather and the variety of produce especially fruit. One of things I miss about Goa is the beautiful variety of winter fruit and vegetables. When I visit Goa, and Panjim in particular, I always make a trip to the market there. I shopped there regularly, for over 15 years, and my connection with the market is very strong.
This time was no different and the fruit especially had me salivating emotionally. I’m not lying when I tell you I was tempted to cart half the market back home! Since that was an impossible feat, I decided to bring back some stuff I don’t get here in Kochi. So I brought back the usual Goan chillies, kokum, cashewnuts, tirphal (similar to Szechaun pepper), etc. I also carted back some fresh figs and Cape Gooseberries.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Cape Gooseberry, it is a fruit that looks somewhat like the tomatillo. The Cape Gooseberry is also known as Physalis, Ground Cherry, Goldenberry or Pichuberry. It is native to Peru, about the size of a cherry tomato and golden yellow in colour with a thin papery cover. The fruit is sweet and slightly tart when ripe. It grows in the Northern parts of India as well and locally known as Rasbhari.
I love Cape Gooseberries and have missed them these past couple of years. You can eat them as they are, bake with them or use them to garnish desserts. My favourite thing to do with Cape Gooseberries is to make them into preserve. Actually, I find this is a good way to keep the fruit around for longer.
This preserve is very easy to make. Halve the fruit and cook it till soft. I like to cook them in unsweetened orange juice. You can use water instead. Add the sugar and some vanilla. I also like using allspice instead of vanilla. Add a little bit of butter to the cooked preserve and let it cool. The butter adds a nice shine to the preserve. That’s all it takes.
I typically make small batches of jam because we don’t eat a lot of it. You can double, triple or quadruple the ingredients for a larger batch.