Originally from South America, especially Columbia, Chile and Peru, it is related to the tomato. It was grown in the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in the early 1800 hundreds, hence the common name. Some forms of the plant can be up to 2 m tall when grown in a greenhouse, but there are dwarf forms available which grow to about 60 cm tall.
They are sweet and can be eaten raw, or made into pies and jam. For a more exotic dish, you can dip them in liquid chocolate, holding them by their stalks, and allow the chocolate to harden before serving.
The seed is best sown in individual cells in heat in March and then transplanted in April or May into a heated or cool greenhouse in the North of the UK. Any reasonably fertile soil should be suitable, boosted by monthly watering with a liquid tomato fertilizer.
They set fruit readily, but if grown under cover, shake the flowers to distribute the pollen.
Allow about 80 days from transplanting to harvesting.
In the South of the UK, it should be possible to grow them outside, provided you do not transplant them till all danger of frost has passed. If you have any doubt, provide cloche protection.
The small cherry-like fruits within the “paper” envelope, are ready when they change to a golden colour and have developed their sweetness.
Pests and diseases.
Watch out for greenfly, white fly and red spider mite, especially if growing them under cover.
Golden Berry. A dwarf variety up to 60 cm high.
Storage. Should store up to 10 days in a fridge. Should also store for a few days if kept in a cool, dry place.