Poisonous physalis: how to distinguish the edible from the inedible
Physalis: how not to make the wrong sort of «paper lantern»
Physalis is an annual or perennial plant of the family Solanaceae with a characteristic and easily recognizable form of berries, which are round and placed in boxes made of pricvate a bright orange color. There are different types of physalis, but they are very useful for the body. Poisonous physalis is often confused with non-edible parts of this plant, particularly the calyx, similar to a paper Chinese lantern and surrounding the physalis berry is inedible and poisonous. The roots of this plant also discovered the dangerous alkaloids.
Is it possible to poison physalis
Like other members of the nightshade family, the physalis contains substances which in large quantities can cause adverse reactions. What is this substance, physalis edible or not?
In tomatoes and potatoes, for example, which are also nightshade contains solanine and eggplant solanine-M. physalis also contains a substance called, ritalin.
Ritalin is non-poisonous alkaloid and carotenoid in large number in physalis. It gives the berries a bitter taste and the orange-red color.
As the content of solanine in potatoes and tomatoes, and the contents visaline in the berries physalis depends on the main factor – the degree of ripening fruit. Than the fruit more ripe, the less bitterness and berry is more suitable for food. So the question – Cape gooseberries are poisonous or not, the answer mainly lies in the method of its use. After all, with skillful use, you can also use the leaves and roots of this plant, which in the normal form can be dangerous, however, contain valuable medicinal properties that can be extracted.
There are also different varieties of physalis, which are divided mainly into decorative and edible:
- decorative Chinese lanterns have a small form and bright orange color. They are widely known in Russia as a decorative element, which is used by confectioners for decorating cakes and other products. This berry has a bitter taste, although it is fully ripened. This variety is not edible because of the bitterness, however there is no scientific data on its toxicity;
- edible varieties have larger fruit, and the colors of ripe berries can vary from yellow to red. There are many varieties of such fruits, which have a pleasant sweet-sour taste. Popular pineapple, strawberry, vegetable physalis, as well as other varieties.
However, you should remember that any kind of salt is better to use ripe, as green fruit can cause slight indigestion. To distinguish a ripe fruit is very simple: calyx surrounding berry as soon as it is ripe, dries and bursts. This is the main sign of readiness berries for food. Physalis produces delicious jams, preserves, it is dried, boiled, marinated, salted, add in seasonings and eaten raw.
Physalis alkekengi easily grows in Central Russia, it can be stored in the winter time – it does not clean the berries from the boxes in which they ripen. Physalis (common) decorative has a small round fruit the size of 1-2 cm and a box that encloses the berry beautiful triangle.
As the berries of other varieties of physalis, physalis alkekengi is on the surface of the berries of the film with the adhesive composition, the taste bitter. It is difficult to wash off with water and has a waxy texture. Decorative berries of the physalis due to the small size are composed of more concentrated substance ritalin, giving the fruit a bitter taste. In the decorative physalis are also other toxic compounds. Due to these properties, the fruits are not recommended to take in food.
The so-called vegetable physalis, or Mexican, is the most common type of edible physalis, although not the only one. Food physalis produced in different varieties and is an edible plant. Due to the larger size and breeding with plants received different grades – the well-known «Diabetes miracle», «Plum jam» and many others. Of these berries turn out very tasty, and jam in the form of a berry is more like a Fig, and savory dishes goes well with vegetables, making stained-the perfect ingredient for a salad or side dish.
Poisoning physalis possible only due to use this fruit is it can not eat unripe.
To distinguish edible from non-edible physalis, in addition to signs of maturation, you can also taste: non-edible fruit will be unpleasant bitterness. It should also be sure to wash the fruit before cooking, preferably in hot water. Berry has a sticky wax-like plaque that gives the bitterness – and it should be washed off with water.
Benefits of physalis
Bright juicy fruits have a number of advantages – that sour taste that quenches thirst, and mass of useful properties for any occasion. Edible physalis useful for the body as it has rich nutritional content: it has a considerable content of organic acids – ascorbic, succinic, malic, tartaric, citric. Contains useful for bone tissue pectin, a large number of carotene, protein. This Berry is a source of bioflavonoids, it is necessary for the health of minerals and a complex of essential vitamins. Has an antioxidant effect.
The plant is used in folk medicine and in homeopathy as a diuretic, choleretic, hemostatic, antiseptic and analgesic. Effective in rheumatism, diseases of the respiratory system and urinary system.
To preserve the rich composition, the berries take in raw. For medicinal purposes of them juices, make teas, tinctures. For treatment use also the roots of plants and leaves, as they contain a large amount of nutrients.
The beneficial properties of the fruit is also indispensable for anemia, hypertension, for the treatment of painful menstruation, rheumatism, dermatosis. Modern medicine uses this tool as a multivitamin and dietary complex, which is capable to give the body necessary trace elements and provide it with adequate nutrition.
The decoction in the complex therapy is used for treatment of urolithiasis. The fruit juice is used for wounds, they have regenerating properties and is suitable for the treatment of other skin lesions – herpes, gout.
Vitamin and mineral composition of physalis following:
- vitamins a, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, PP;
- the trace elements magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium and zinc.
Thus, regular use of physalis provide the body with necessary substances, which make its normal work, and therefore improve the immune system and overall health.
The cultivation and care
Although initially physalis is a South American plant, its production is possible in Central Russia. We grow both decorative and edible species of this plant.
This plant is very finicky to temperature and likes lots of sun and low humidity. However, this plant cannot be called a picky – with proper care it can grow up to a meter in height, and provide winter cellar with a variety of dishes – both sweet and salty as caviar or pickles.
Cultivation and maintenance of edible physalis does not require special knowledge. Enough to buy and plant the seeds, fertilize the soil and to take care of the content in its composition of limestone. Here are some of the secrets of landing on your site:
- seeds should not be dirty with the earth – then the plant will not root;
- not planted in the same soil different varieties – they can interbreed among themselves and to bring the deformed fruits;
- in waterlogged and acidic soil grows poorly and is often sick;
- loves a large amount of ash and humus;
- seeds should sprout after disinfection, place in a damp cloth;
- seedlings before planting in open ground prefers cool temperature – ideally around 17 degrees Celsius, the need for frequent airing;
- frequent watering is needed only during the period of growth, when the plant has grown, watering should be reduced.
Physalis will be very useful in any time of the year and in addition a gastronomic diversity will help to cope with beriberi, to strengthen the immune system, as well as berries excrete the toxins and heavy metals due to the members of the unique items.
Contraindications and side effects
Contraindications can also be extensive – this intolerance berries, and Allergy to one or more chemical substances in its composition – for example, the carotenoid. The content in the composition of organic acids can adversely affect diseases of the stomach associated with acidity – in this case, it may be heartburn. Despite the fact that this berry is successfully used for the treatment of gastritis, normalization of acid-alkaline balance in the digestive tract and other diseases of the stomach and intestines, it should be used with caution in people with high acidity.
Physalis can be useful when used in small amounts, and become culprit poisoning with excessive consumption of berries. Positive effects on the body no doubt, but should be used in food only those varieties that are in the process of selection were bred specifically for their safe use in food. Low content of toxic and harmful compounds in their structure became possible due to the artificial removal of culture through the selection of forms and types of plants. When applied to food of wild-growing types of plants are not ruled out poisoning, up to heavy conditions. Besides it is not necessary to forget that in the process of maturation the number Vitalina dramatically reduced, which increases the safety at the ripe fruit and the potential harm from not ripe.
To distinguish the edible species of physalis from inedible, you can taste the pulp of the fruit must not have a very pronounced bitter taste, however, slight bitterness may be present. Taste fruit is sweet-sour pleasant fresh scent with notes of strawberry and other berries. Don’t confuse bitterness from the pulp with a waxy film around the berries, which also has a bitter taste and characteristic of edible and inedible varieties. Berries should be washed in plenty of water to remove the film. And, if you wash the berries in hot water, although an effective method, you will notice a changed taste more sour.
In food use only ripe fruit that ripened to orange or red (depending on variety) and their box is completely dry. Poisonous elements of the plant – roots, leaves, and private – should not be used in food, as in inedible parts of the plant many dangerous compounds.