Physalis (โทงเทงฝรั่ง, ระฆังทอง)

Physalis was brought to Thailand from America, that’s why I have given 2 Thai names and there are even more in different parts of the country. Physalis berries (1-4 cm in diameter) hide in decorative looking lanterns, husk formed by grown together sepals.

Taste of physalis

Physalis has pleasant bright sweet-sour taste of multivitamins, but there’s some slightly bitter aftertaste. That’s why it’s hard to eat kilograms of it at once like it goes with mangosteens. Berries are juicy, their consistence reminds of tomato flesh.

Actually physalis berries that are imported to any countries have the same taste – one should just choose the most ripe.

Physalis inside
Physalis berry inside

How to choose, transport & store

Carefully look inside of “lanterns” – ripe physalis has deep orange color, while the size of berry doesn’t matter. Also check, if the berry begins to rot.

Concerning transportation, physalis is quite a tender berry, avoid squeezing (only hand luggage, only in the top of it). Pay attention at how it is sold (if your country imports these berries) – in plastic boxes or cages that protect physalis from compression.

Ripe physalis can be stored ~1 week in a fridge. But it’s so hard to understand, what goes on inside of a “lantern”. Sometimes physalis is sold peeled (without sepals), in this case time of storing reduces, but it’s easier to carry home as it takes less place in luggage.

Physalis without husk
Physalis without husk looks totally different

How to eat physalis

Unfold the “lantern” and bite off the berry. Berry has very small edible seeds. Sometimes hands can be covered with some sticky liquid, but it can be easily washed off with soap.

When and where to find

Physalis is not very common for Thailand. But here it can bear huge berries (3-4 cm). The price starts from 120 THB/kg.

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