In this post, you’ll learn about the delicious golden berry (uvilla fruit) originally from Peru and Ecuador. Now, the tasty Physalis peruviana can be found around the world. Here’s how to eat them, where to find them, and the health benefits of this superfood.
While the uvilla fruit is known by many names (including ground cherry, Cape gooseberry, and uchuva) for this post I’m going to use golden berry – the most common name in North America where the majority of our readers live.
Benefits of Eating Golden Berries (Subtitled in English)
13 Facts About Golden Berry: Uvilla Fruit
Here are 13 facts about Ecuador’s golden berry:
- Goldenberries come wrapped in a paper lantern and are about the size of a marble (1-2 cm wide).
- Goldenberries are indigenous to the Andes Mountains (western South America), and are currently grown in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.
- It has since traveled to Australia, New Zealand, India (known as ras bhari), Thailand and Egypt.
- Golden berries have been cultivated in England since the late 1700’s and in South Africa since roughly the 1950’s. Some sources claim that the popular name “Cape Gooseberry” has its origins in the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) however golden berries didn’t appear in any publications earlier than 1950.
- The name Cape Gooseberry, rather than being a geographical feature, most likely refers to the paper wrapper that surrounds the berry like a cape. The name is most common in South Africa, UK, Australia and New Zealeand.
- In French, the golden berry is known as amour en cage (love in a cage), referring to it’s paper wrapper.
- In Latin, golden berry is known as Physalis peruviana. As a result, the fresh fruit is known simply as physalis in Britain, while the dried berry is sold as goldenberry.
- Uvilla is a Spanish word that means “little grape”. It has been used to describe many different plants. In Ecuador and Peru, uvilla refers to the golden berry.
- Uvilla is pronounced oo-vee-ya
- In Colombia and Costa Rica, the golden berry is also known as uchuva.
- Other names for the golden berry include: physalis, Cape gooseberry, Pichuberry (named after Machu Picchu in Peru), Incan Golden Berries, Aztec berry, ground cherry and poha.
- Golden berries are not gooseberries (as the name Cape gooseberry suggests) but are actually closely related to the tomatillo and the Chinese lantern. It is more distantly related to tomatoes, potato, eggplant and other members of the nightshade family.
- Golden berries are considered a superfood, being low in calories and with moderate levels of vitamins and minerals. They are listed as being high in antioxidants, polyphenols and carotenoids. Many sources list golden berries as beneficial for treating weight loss, inflammation, diabetes, liver and kidney health and improving the immune system.
Dried golden berries are available on Amazon.
In Ecuador, these are easily found at both open markets and grocery stores. In many parts of the world, if you can’t find them fresh, you can find dried uvilla fruit options.
Because of their sweet/ tart flavor, they go exceptionally well with chocolate. In the following video, we taste test golden berry chocolate by República del Cacao, a premium chocolate maker in Ecuador.
Golden Berry (Uvilla) and Chocolate Tasting
Ecuador Uvilla Plantation
4 Golden Berry Recipes
I haven’t tried any of these – yet. But I found them as a I researched this post and wanted to include them. Let me know if you try them – or if you have another recipe to share.
- Golden Berry Superfood Granola via avocadopesto.com
- Strawberry Salad with Goldenberry Vinaigrette via thebikinichef.com
- Golden Berry Fudge via sunfood.com
- Golden Berry Granola Bars via fitmittenkitchen.com
Have a golden berry fact to share? Have you had fresh golden berries? Join me below!
- About the Author
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Hi, I’m Bryan Haines. And I’m a co-founder of Storyteller.Travel. I’m a traveler and photographer.
I also blog about photography on Storyteller Tech.
Sunday 2nd of October 2022
I looked at the recipe for the fudge. I live in Ecuador, but some of the ingredients would be impossible to find.
Tuesday 14th of September 2021
Can you purchase this powder in the country? And if so where?
Wednesday 10th of November 2021
In Ecuador, we only saw uvilla sold fresh - at the open markets and supermarkets. Powder might also be available, but we didn't see it (might be because we weren't looking for it.
Saturday 14th of November 2020
Would these grow in north central Alberta Canada? If so, where can I buy seeds?
Saturday 6th of May 2017
Thank you for this very informative article. I learned much. Just to assist, could I respectfully point out a spelling flaw that is very common in today's English? You spelled Colombia as Columbia. I think this faux pas is made so commonly because it seems most people pronounce the country's name incorrectly. Often it is confused with the District of Columbia, British Columbia, etc. Thank you for helping me learn with your articles. Enjoy your life. Edward Allen Lake Wales, Florida
Sunday 7th of May 2017
Hi Edward - thanks for pointing that out. I've fixed the error in both places. Thanks! Bryan