Most gardeners in Central Russia know physalis as an exclusively ornamental plant. But this relative of the well-known tomato also has edible varieties. Physalis can be eaten both fresh and canned. There are several popular varieties of this culture, each variety has its own fans.
How to tell the difference between edible and inedible physalis
It is quite simple to distinguish edible from decorative physalis. As soon as the ripening process takes place, decorative varieties acquire an unpleasant, poisonous, bright orange color. Edible Physalis usually has a paler flashlight. Inside the lantern, the edible variety has a small berry itself, which can be eaten without any temperature treatment. The color of the edible berry can be different, for example, plum. There are also orange and light yellow fruits.
What does edible physalis look like?
Physalis has two completely edible forms. The first is vegetable, the second is berry. The fruits of the vegetable physalis are similar to a yellow-green tomato. Fleshy, medium in size. The bushes are tall and slender, like all nightshade crops.
The stems can vary and be branching or creeping. The length of the stems reaches 120 cm. The leaves are oval, with jagged edges. Up to 200 fruits are formed on one plant, depending on weather and fertile conditions.
Where does edible physalis grow?
To grow edible physalis, you need a calcareous soil. If the soil is acidic, then physalis will not grow. During the day, the plant requires sun. And also for a good harvest, you need to avoid excess moisture.
If there is no excess moisture, weeds, enough sun, the plant will give out a good and rich harvest. It is important that there is a sufficient amount of sunlight when growing and caring for physalis.
How does edible physalis grow?
A rare vegetable is grown using seedlings. When planting, it should be borne in mind that the plant most often branches strongly, which means that it will have to be planted in the ground at a distance of at least 50 cm from each other and in a checkerboard pattern. Then the bushes will not interfere with each other. It is important that different varieties of physalis should not be combined in the same area. Moreover, each variety and variety requires its own care.
Edible physalis varieties
Before planting edible physalis, you must choose the most suitable variety. The following varieties of edible physalis are most common in cultivation:
- Peruvian. Berry variety with a pleasant sweetish taste and aroma. It is mainly used for making desserts.
- Pineapple. Physalis berries of this variety are small, they taste like pineapple.
- Raisin. When dried, the variety becomes similar to raisins. It is used not only dried and dried, but also fresh. Tastes like citrus.
- Moscow early. Vegetable variety, used with success for conservation. Early ripening fruits weighing up to 80 g.
- Mexican tomato. Most common among vegetable varieties. The bushes are tall, the fruits are yellowish. Used in salads and preserves.
- Ground Gribovsky. Yielding and cold-resistant variety. Fruits are greenish in mid-ripening period.
When choosing a specific variety, it is important to carefully study the growing and planting conditions.
Why is edible physalis useful?
Physalis edible has many useful properties due to the contained vitamins and minerals.
The fruits of a ripe plant contain:
- a large amount of vitamin C, it helps in the treatment of infectious and colds;
- nicotinic acid, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels and fights atherosclerosis;
- potassium, which reduces blood pressure, removes excess fluid and relieves swelling;
- beta-carotenes, lycopene - reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men;
- B vitamins, which control and normalize the functioning of the central nervous system.
When used correctly, physalis has a choleretic, analgesic, wound healing, antiseptic and diuretic effect on the body. The plant is successfully used for:
- Botkin's disease.
There is also benefit for the intestines, since the vegetable improves peristalsis and normalizes the digestive system.
The plant has its own contraindications:
- you can not drink a course for more than 10 days without the permission of a doctor;
- pregnancy, lactation period;
- gastritis and stomach ulcers;
- thyroid disease;
- allergic reaction.
If a person does not reliably know about an allergy to physalis, it is enough to recall the food reaction to tomatoes. An allergy to them means the presence of an allergy to physalis.
Growing and caring for edible physalis
Physalis ordinary in growing is not difficult. Plant agrotechnics is extremely simple. Physalis is grown from seeds using seedlings.
Before planting seedlings in the ground, the soil must be prepared. You need to choose a sunny place, since the Mexican tomato does not like shade. A weak solution of potassium permanganate must be added to the soil. When digging, it is necessary to add ash and humus. Then the soil will be fertile enough.
Any nightshade crops cannot be used as precursors, since they use similar substances from the soil and deplete it. The seeds germinate quickly, and within 30 days a young plant will sprout.
It can be planted directly into the open ground, but in this case, the beds must be covered with a film.
At first, do not water the seedlings too actively, since in this case the root system is subject to rotting. To prevent the fruits from becoming too watery, it is not recommended to water the plant during the formation and ripening of the crop, only occasionally.
The plant is fed twice during the growth period. For feeding, a solution of cow manure is used in a ratio of 1:10.
The plant does not require special care. Watering in moderation and being weed-free is sufficient.
Diseases and pests
The main diseases of Physalis vulgaris:
- Black leg - occurs when there is excessive moisture and the absence of loosening of the soil. In case of illness, the stem at the root turns black, and the plant dies.
- Mosaic - light green spots of various sizes appear on the plant inserts. The plant is infected through insects, as well as mechanically with improper agricultural technology.
If the plant is regularly weeded, watered, and also loosened the ground, then the diseases will not be able to overcome the physalis, and the harvest will be full. In addition to diseases, there are also pests, some of which are very interested in nightshade crops:
- Medvedka - damages plants from the very beginning of spring. The insect has pronounced digging legs. It hibernates as a larva. To get rid of the bear in early June, it is recommended to deeply loosen the aisles.
- Wireworms are not dangerous insects themselves, but their larvae. They gnaw the root system of the plant and lead to its death. It is recommended to treat the soil with special means, as well as to set traps to lure the wireworm.
Physalis matures gradually. The first crop appears and ripens on the lower branches of the plant. If you do not collect it in time, then the fruits will fall to the ground. If the weather is dry, then on the ground the fruits in the covers will retain their beneficial properties for a long time. In humid climates, you need to collect immediately so that larvae and parasites cannot get into the cover.
The fruits can endure the first autumn frosts, but experts advise harvesting before frost so that the fruits retain all their beneficial properties.
For long-term storage, you need to remove the fruits in an immature state. For storage, the fruits must be left in their natural "packaging".
How to eat
Physalis perennial edible can be consumed in several ways. It all depends on the variety. There are decorative varieties from which you can prepare jams, vegetables for preservation and salads.
You can also eat and cook:
- Physalis is salty. This recipe can be prepared separately or using cucumbers. The recipe is as follows: put the fruits in a jar in layers with spices and pour brine at the rate of 60 g of salt per liter of water.
- Soaked vegetable.
- Pickled product. It is necessary to marinate under the same conditions as simple tomatoes.
- Vegetable caviar from the fruits of Mexican tomato is prepared by passing through a meat grinder and adding salt, onion, pepper to taste.
- Candied fruits are most often prepared from berry varieties of vegetables.
- Jam and mashed potatoes both for one-time preparation and as a winter preparation.
This vegetable is unique in that it will appeal to both sweet lovers and those who prefer healthier cuisine. In salads, edible physalis has its own pleasant taste and, with a low calorie content, will attract lovers of healthy food.
People began to eat edible physalis a long time ago. This is a useful product containing a large amount of vitamins and minerals. Growing it in the country is no more difficult than a simple tomato. A novice gardener will also be able to take care of the planting, and as a result, he will receive a useful plant with a large number of medicinal properties.