Golden berries go by many names. Some call them ground cherries. They grow on bushes, individually wrapped in husks like their cousin, the tomatillo. They are native to the Andes, which is why some people call them Inca berries or Aztec berries or even Peruvian cherries. Golden berries also grow in South Africa, where they are known as Cape gooseberries. Whatever you call them, just be sure to eat these bright yellow-orange fruits about the size of a cherry.
Here in America, we most often see golden berries dried because they have a short growing season and an even shorter shelf life. They still grow wild in the Andes and South Africa and are cultivated in England and in Canada. You can order fresh golden berries online at melissas.com and have them shipped to your door starting in September. By the end of February, they’ll be out of season throughout the world. Navitas Naturals sells packets of sun-dried golden berries, hand-picked in the Andes Mountains of Columbia.
Why should you go to the trouble of ordering golden berries? First of all, they taste good. They’re tart and sweet, sort of like a kumquat or a sour cherry. Secondly, and most importantly, they’re a super fruit. They’re rich in antioxidants, like the FoodTrient carotenoids and vitamin A. Carotenoids inhibit cancer and tumor growth; they reduce the risk of heart disease; and they support the immune system. Vitamin A is the beauty vitamin. It strengthens skin and hair and keeps your eyes healthy.
Golden berries also contain protein, which is unusual for a fruit. And they have the FoodTrient vitamin C, another antioxidant. Vitamin C, like vitamin A, helps the body resist infection. It helps prevent your eyes from developing cataracts. And as for beauty, vitamin C aids tissue regeneration, which means it can help your skin stay young-looking. It also reduces your risk of certain cancers and even stroke.
So now that you want to try them, how should you eat these treasures from the Andes? Of course, you can snack on them as is. Or you can throw dried golden berries into trail mixes and salads. My Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad recipe includes golden berries. I think you’ll enjoy it.
WILD RICE AND QUINOA SALAD
½ cup wild rice
½ cup brown rice
½ cup red quinoa
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. honey or agave syrup
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. flaxseed oil
2 tsp. sea salt
Dash of white pepper
Cooked vegetable mixture:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup diced onion
½ cup diced cremini mushrooms
½ cup kale leaves, cut into strips
¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper
¼ cup diced green bell pepper
¼ cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
¼ cup dried golden berries
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Soak the wild and brown rice together in enough water to cover for 1 hour.
2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions (they vary by brand). Chill in the refrigerator.
3. Cook the brown and wild rice like pasta, in a large pot of salted water over high heat. Boil for about 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse in a colander with cold water.
4. Make the dressing while the rice is cooking: mix vinegar, agave, soy sauce, flaxseed oil, salt, and pepper together in a glass bowl.
5. Toss the dressing with the wild rice, brown rice, and quinoa. Chill in the refrigerator.
6. Heat a sauté pan and add the oil. Cook the onions and mushrooms over medium heat for 5–10 minutes. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Chill in the refrigerator until cool, about 10 minutes.
7. To assemble, combine the dressed rice, cooked vegetables, remaining raw vegetables, and golden berries and toss together until the mixture is uniform. Add seasoning, if desired. You can chill this salad for an hour or two to let the flavors blend, or serve right away.
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