The lantern fruit, also known as Physalis alkekengi or Chinese lantern, is a hardy perennial that grows wild in many areas of the world. It is a close relative to the tomato and is edible when ripe. The bright red papery husks, which resemble paper Chinese lanterns, give this plant its common name.
The lantern fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. It also contains high levels of antioxidants that can help protect against free radical damage in the body. Traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat stomach problems and colds.
The lantern fruit is easy to grow and can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. The plants require full sun and well-drained soil that is kept moist with regular watering. It does best in warm climates and will not tolerate temperatures below freezing. The plants should be trimmed before flowering to encourage new growth, as this helps produce larger fruits.
Harvesting the lantern fruits is done when the husks have turned red. The fruit must then be used immediately or stored in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks. When ready to eat, the husks should be removed and the berries were eaten fresh or cooked into jams and jellies.
The lantern fruit is an excellent addition to any garden and has many health benefits. Its bright and festive appearance also makes it a great way to decorate for the holidays! Whether eaten fresh or cooked into jams and jellies, this unique fruit is sure to please.
The lantern fruit can also be used as an ornamental plant in gardens. The vibrant red husks make it a great addition to beds and borders. Because of its hardiness, it is often used as a ground cover or an edging plant for flower gardens. The fruit can also be dried and used in festive decorations or wreaths.