The Pichuberry is native to the highlands of Peru, Chile, Colombia, and other countries along the Andes Mountains. To many, the Pichuberry is known as the Lost Incan Crop. After being discovered, settlers began growing the Pichuberry in Spain and England. The English settlers then used the crop in their colonization of what is today South Africa. Around the year 1774, the Pichuberry was cultivated by early settlers at the Cape of Good Hope. In South Africa the Pichuberry is commercially cultivated and common as jam. Canned whole fruits are staple commodities and are often exported. The Pichuberry is cultivated and naturalized on a small scale in Gabon and other parts of Central Africa.
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The berries are small, round fruit, about the size of marbles or cherries. They have smooth, waxy skin that ripens from green to orange or yellow. Inside, the fruit is sweet and juicy, with many small yellow seeds. Pichuberries grow inside husks that assimilate small lanterns, as tomatillos do. In fact, the Pichuberry fruit is sometimes associated with Ground Cherries and many people think they come from the same plant. The difference is that the fruit of the Pichuberry plant (Physalis Peruviana) has a different flavor and grows differently than the Ground Cherry.
So one might ask - Why the Pichuberry? First, this fruit is in no way related to the gooseberry. Second, the Pichuberry name has been developed to re-align the fruit with its native environment - Peru. The goal is to re-establish this fruit as "The Lost Incan Treasure". All of the currently known names for this fruit do not portray an accurate story for its origins.
The Pichuberry team will work to bring this fruit to a whole new level, making history in the areas of marketing, health research, as well as versatile recipes that will offer fit alternatives for the American diet.
Soon after its adoption in the Cape of Good Hope, the Pichuberry was carried to Australia where acquired its other name “Cape Gooseberry”. It was one of the few fresh fruits of the early settlers in New South Wales. There, the Pichuberry 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.
Today, the Pichuberry has become a popular delicacy in several continents including South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. In fact, France has integrated this fruit into its distinct culinary community.