Golden berries, also known as ground cherries, husk cherries and cape gooseberries, are characterized by their papery outer layer which protects a bittersweet, juicy berry that is golden in color. They are in the same genus as tomatillos, hence the similar appearance. Golden berries grow wild across the U.S. and are cultivated in the tropics. These berries can be a tart snack on their own and can be added into salsa, cooked into pies, made into jam or incorporated into savory meals. Now called a “superfood,” golden berries have been eaten around the world for centuries and are not new to the U.S. food market.
One cup of raw golden berries is a good source of vitamin C and thiamin and an excellent source of vitamin A and niacin. Online articles cite their vitamin A and C content with helping to bolster the immune system and their withanolide (a naturally occurring steroid) content with helping to reduce stress as an adaptogen, but more research is needed.
Consumers can find dried golden berries in grocery stores and online shops. Fresh golden berries grown in Oregon are available in July and August and those grown in New Zealand are available from October to January. Leaves and unripe berries are toxic and should not be consumed.
Golden berries are part of the nightshade family, which has been linked to inflammation and arthritis. However, there is no strong evidence to support this concern. Ripe golden berries may be enjoyed like other fruits.
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Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center. Nightshades and your health. Colorado State University website. Published September 14, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2019.
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