Introduction: Spiked Chinese Lantern Jam

Picture of Spiked Chinese Lantern Jam

One of the invasive plants I come across on my hikes are Chinese Lanterns, and I like to make spiked jam with them to put on after dinner desserts.

Weather you pick Chinese Lantern, Ground Cherry, or Cape Gooseberry, all Physalis are part of the Nightshade family and generally used as an ornamental plants due to the red husk of the flower. This plant is native to throughout Asia, Southern Europe and in the Americas. Enclosed in the lantern-shaped flower is a small berry, which is slightly yellow and has a flavor similar to a sweet tomato. This berry is difficult to find growing wild in North America, mostly found in vacant lots and abandoned farms after having been planted as a garden ornamental flower. Despite its strange papery enclosure, Physalis berries are quite simple to eat and use in cooking.

Step 1: Collecting the Berries

Picture of Collecting the Berries

This berry is difficult to find growing wild in North America, mostly found in vacant lots and abandoned farms after having been planted as a garden ornamental flower. But for the bright papery husks, these berries hide well in the tall wild grasses and plants. I recommend when you find them keep track of them until they ripen.

Despite its strange papery enclosure, Physalis berries are quite simple to eat and use in cooking. Pick the berries only when the husk turns a beige or cream color. If you pick it while the flower is still bright red or green, the berry will be too sour to eat or use. These fruits are rich in vitamin A and C, as well as phosphorous, calcium and iron.

Step 2: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

4 cups berries in water, (1 liter)

1 ½ cups sugar

½ Micky Vodka 6 oz

1 package freezer jam gelling powder

4, 1 cup 250 ml bottles

Most of the time I make sugar free Jams but I don’t like artificial sweeteners in spiked jams.

Step 3: Clean the Berries

Picture of Clean the Berries

To make 4 cups or 1 liter of berries you will need to collect 16 cups or 4 liters of the flowers

Pull down the husk to reveal the yellowish berry.

Wash the fruit in cold water.

Step 4: Cooking the Berries

Picture of Cooking the Berries

Place the Chinese lantern berries and water in a pot.

Add the sugar and gelling powder.

While stirring heat the pot until the berries are soft.

Once cooked puree the berries and let stand until cool.

Step 5: Bottling

Picture of Bottling

Once the pureed berries are cool stir in the vodka.

Then place clean in 4, 1 cup or 250 ml bottles and place in the refrigerator.

The spiked jam should last up to 6 months.

Comments

Riffifi (author)2017-08-29

i grow physalis in a greenhouse. it likes sun and much water. if left outside it freezes and died in the winter where i am, it survives inside and even grows fruits!
i made jelly, because there are too many seeds and they got stuck in my teeth otherwise. i mix the fruits and filtrate the juice, then add some jelly sugar.

Josehf Murchison (author)Riffifi2017-08-29

I think it is a really neat plant.

The variety we have here is Physalis alkekengi it dies in the fall and comes back in the spring.

Riffifi (author)Josehf Murchison2017-08-29

this is the same plant i have. as it doesn't die in the winter, the bush grows bigger*, and the bigger it grows, the more fruits you harvest, and no matter the season :)

(the one i let grow for 3 years became a jungle on itself lol !)

Josehf Murchison (author)Riffifi2017-08-29

Your winter must be much more mild in France then it is here in Canada, where I live we can get 20 foot snow drifts and frost quakes (earthquakes caused by frost in the ground.)

I would love to have a greenhouse but ever since I lost my eyesight I rent and the landlord wont let me build one.

Riffifi (author)Josehf Murchison2017-08-29

wow, i've never heard about frost quakes, it must be scary...
i live in Bretagne (western part of france), 30 km from the sea . yes it barely freezes in winter, but mostly because of global warming. we never get enough snow to make a snowman, it melt within the day.

sorry you can't have a greenhouse, anyway it's always great to have wild berries, physalis are expensive in supermarket in france, you can find a DOZEN berries for 2 or 3 euros, because they're imported from south america!

Josehf Murchison (author)Riffifi2017-08-29

Frost quakes are more nosy than anything else, but they will damage the foundation of your house, as of yet I have never herd of one collapsing a house. But because the frost can go 10 feet in the ground it can kill perennials. A real pain is if you die in the winter you can't be buried until spring.

I can see that it would be 2 to 3 euro I made my living as a truck driver haling fresh produce up from Mexico to Canada in the winter. From Central or South America to France it would be flown in and that is a lot more expensive than a truck haling 40 tone only 3000 miles.

Poochmania (author)2017-08-29

I have the plants all over the yard. When I plant them, I didn't realize how invasive this lantern plant is. Before I realized, it took over the yard. You can eat this fruit raw. If it is ripe, it is sweet. In the Orient, it is used as a cold remedy. I never thought about making Jam as you have shown here. I shall try the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

On the side note, it also makes a beautiful flower arrangement. I hope you don't mine I share a photo of Japanese lantern flower arrangement here.

They are lovely, I have seen them in arrangements with teasel and this seed pod I don't know the name of, it is shaped like a funnel with big holes the seeds were in.

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Bio: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started ... More »
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