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
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
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
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
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
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.