Cape gooseberries/husk cherries

Am I the only person in the US who knows what these are? Every time I buy them at a farmers’ market I become the husk cherries go-to girl, explaining to folks how you eat them, when they’re in season, and what they taste like. If there’s a husk cherries grower’s association I want my spruiker’s fee.

They are in season here in the US right now. If they’ve got them at your local farmers’ market get ’em! They are delicious eaten on on their own or thrown into a salad.

Here’s what they look like.


You just tear the papery husk away and inside is what looks like a teeny tiny tomato. (They’re prolly related, but like I could be arsed looking it up.) The more golden they are the sweeter they are, but you can eat ’em green—they’re just tarter that way.

Have any of you yanquis heard of ’em? Do youse love ’em like I do?


  1. veejane on #

    I saw some at the farmer’s market just this Tuesday, and they were labeled (husk cherries) so I knew what they were, but I’ve never eaten them in my life.

    Also, September is the month for apples, and the Macouns are ripe, and with the early onset of cool I am already into leeks, chard, potatoes, and other hearty fall vegetables. I don’t think the tomatoes are completely gone by, but they’re going.

  2. Justine on #

    Yes, the apples are amazing, but do yourself a favour, Veejane, get some husk cherries! (And then report back here.)

  3. amy fiske on #

    hmmm…they look like tomatillos. good for salsa. haven’t seen any recently.

  4. Ryan Freebern on #

    ‘Round here we call them tomatillos.

  5. Justine on #

    They’re not tomatillos. They’re much smaller and sweeter. Plus the best ones are golden yellow, not green.

  6. Marie on #

    hmmmm… ive never seen or heard of them before. they look wicked cool though and i will deffinately be on the lookout for them.

  7. shelly rae on #

    I do like these yummies. I’ve seen them out here as ground cherries rather than husk cherries though. They are related to tomatillos but I never use them like a tomatillo. But perhaps that’s because they never last very long around here. “Ground cherries? What ground cherries?”

  8. Erin on #

    Gooseberries! I’ve never seen them called anything else. Our family always used them in gooseberry pie, though I’ve discovered some local gooseberry jam as well.

    Tangy when green, and the pie tastes almost exactly like rhubarb pie. Mmmmmm . . .

  9. John Klima on #

    Didn’t we get some of those on a cheese plate at the Philadelphia Worldcon many moons ago? They were delicious!


  10. Rebecca on #

    i’ve heard of gooseberries before, but never seen nor eaten them.

  11. Malsperanza on #

    Bigger than normal gooseberries, smaller and sweeter than tomatillos, a.k.a. winter cherries. They’re the fruit of the ornamental plant called Japanese lanterns. In Italy they’re called alchechengi, and are dipped fresh in chocolate–delicious. But hard to find in the US.

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