Magazine article Sunset

Hawaiians Use It for Jam ... Poha. You Can Order Seeds Now

Magazine article Sunset

Hawaiians Use It for Jam ... Poha. You Can Order Seeds Now

Article excerpt

A strange fruit with some better-known relatives, poha is edible like tomatillo and has the papery husk of Chinese lantern. If you'd like to grow poha (Physalis peruviana, also called Cape gooseberry or husk cherry), you can order seeds now.

Poha has a tart, mildly sweet flavor reminiscent of tomatillo (P. ixocarpa), used in Mexican dishes; Hawaii residents often use poha to make jam. If you know ornamental Chinese lantern (P. alkekengi), poha may look familiar, but instead of bright orange-red husks, it has tan ones.

Like small indeterminate tomatoes, poha vines are sprawlers that reach 2-1/i to 3 feet tall. Soft stems have pairs of smooth, heart-shaped leaves. Small yellow flowers with blue markings appear in midsummer, followed in fall by husk-enclosed berries. These are usually between 1/2 and 1 inch in diameter, with thin, waxy skin; pulp contains many small seeds.

Seeds of a selected variety called Golden Berry are available from Thompson and Morgan (Box 1308, Jackson, N.J. 08527) and Exotica Seed Company (1742 Laurel

Canyon Blvd., Hollywood, Calif. 90046; catalog $2). Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co. (Yankton, S.D. 57079) offers poha seeds, calling its selection Pineapple Berry. …

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