There’s a place deep within my heart which holds sweetest memories I have from childhood. That place happens to be my Mom’s aunt home. My Grandaunt has had a big home on a one acre piece of land that was inherited from my Great-Grandfathers. Since my mother and grandmother spent a great deal of time up with Aunt Chela; me, my sister and brother began to love that old house, with its uneven wooden plank floors and high ceilings. But what we liked most was spend the day climbing trees. There were mango trees, jocote trees, papayas, maranones (cashew nut), arrayanes, guavas, caimitos (star apple), everywhere. I used to climb way up into a tree and bounce on branches to knock the jocotes off or throwing dry branches at them while my sister and little brother scurried around underneath collecting the small fruit. One day, we walked back home into roads that ended before the river. Then I saw the only and mysterious plant that my Aunt forbidden us to touch. Though I was just a small child, I still remember this big shrub bearing a desirable fruit called Aguaymanto (Cape Goosberry) and yes, I used to steal them without regard. Hey I was a kid, with all kind of temptations; but I can’t help myself with these cute little packages-paper-like lanterns that held the little cherry fruit inside.
The Aguaymanto also known as Cape gooseberry, Uchuvas or Poha berry, is a species of the genus Physalis indigenous to South America. Physalis is native to high altitude tropical Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador where the fruits grow wild. The Mexican species is more well-known: the tomatillo. In South America it shows up in sauces, drinks and savory dishes as well as desserts. Soon after its adoption in the Cape of Good Hope it was carried to Australia and there acquired its common English name. It was one of the few fresh fruits of the early settlers in New South Wales. There it has long been grown on a large scale and is abundantly naturalized, as it is also in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Tasmania. Seeds were taken to Hawaii before 1825 and the plant is naturalized on all the islands at medium and somewhat higher elevations. It was at one time extensively cultivated in Hawaii. By 1966, commercial culture had nearly disappeared and processors had to buy the fruit from backyard growers at high prices.
The typical fruit is similar to a firm tomato (in texture), and like strawberries or other fruit in flavor; the flavor is hard to describe. It’s acid but sweet, like a pineapple or a tart strawberry, but it also tastes a little bit like a tomato (tomatoes are cousins). Groundcherries are sweetest when they are very ripe, when their husk is brown and the fruit is orange-red. The Aguaymanto fruits are rich in important nutrients that provide antioxidant protection and support to many body functions. Specifically the fruits are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and some of the B complex (thiamine, niacin and B12).
250 gr. of Aguaymantos
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup white wine
Heat a 12-inch ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons butter. When the foam from the butter begins to subside, Add the gooseberries and sauté 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add the wine and sugar. Reduce the temperature and let cook until it becomes syrup-like. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fill crepes with desired filling. Garnish with mint leaves.