Chinese Lanterns

I have some Chinese Lanterns that I started from seed this year. I noticed that after the "lantern" part dries up & falls away, there appears to be a small tomato-like fruit inside. Are these edible (either for me or the birds)? Are they related to the tomato family? The orange lanterns remind me a bit of tomatillos. Thanks
Jacqueline
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Is this the one you mean?
http://www.botany.wisc.edu/garden/db/speciesdetail.asp?genus=Physalis&species=alkekengi
According to a couple of sources the fruits are edible. But if you eat some and die don't come blaming me. Personally, I always thought that the fruits looked something like tomatillos of salsa fame.
--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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I was served these once as part of dessert on a luxury cruise ship. They were fine.
(When the waiter explained what they were, he was astonished that I knew what he was talking about, and had even grown them. Apparently many people asked about them, but no one else had heard of them.)

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On Sat, 8 Oct 2005 11:19:06 -0500
] I was served these once as part of dessert on a luxury cruise ship. They ] were fine. ] ] (When the waiter explained what they were, he was astonished that I knew ] what he was talking about, and had even grown them. Apparently many people ] asked about them, but no one else had heard of them.) ]
In Europe these are readily available in good outdoor markets, in season. They're very expensive, though. I've been served them a few times in restaurants and thought them good, and always wondered why mine are bitter. (They're attractive but quite invasive, so be careful! I had a real plague of them in the vegetable garden for awhile.)
It turns out there are (at least) two varieties, the truly edible ones have a yellow, not orange lantern. A friend planted them this year, they are an annual (or tender in EU zone 8) and she hasn't yet harvested them. Anyway the other, perennial kind appears not to be poison, as I am still around to report.
Sorry don't recall the true names of the varieties.
-E
] ] > I have some Chinese Lanterns that I started from seed this year. I ] > noticed that after the "lantern" part dries up & falls away, there ] > appears to be a small tomato-like fruit inside. Are these edible ] > (either for me or the birds)? Are they related to the tomato family? ] > The orange lanterns remind me a bit of tomatillos. Thanks ] > ] > Jacqueline ] ]
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they are edible but have very little flavor. supermarket cherry tomatoes in february best describes their flavor. I eat lots of wild things but even i can not get worked up about them. I have several hundred plants along a fencerow and I do not touch them.
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If you were to fry them with fresh ground pepper, sweet pepper, garlic, & onions, then add thinly sliced potatoes & continue frying, I bet they'd be pretty good. Or any fried green tomato recipe. Worked with purple passionflower maypops.
-paghat the ratgirl
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or maybe it is just a matter of getting the flavorful varieties. Those grown for their looks, like mine, have bright orange lanterns.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes

Chinese Lanterns, like tomatoes, potatoes, deadly nightshade, tobacco and henbane all belong to the Solanaceae family. Chinese Lantern is a name applied to Physalis alkengii, but I wouldn't be confident that other species don't also pass under that name. Googling tells me that tomatillo is Physalis ixocarpa. Physalis belongs to the same part of the family as potatoes, tomatoes and tamarillos, but also deadly nightshade and mandrake. Datura appears to be one of the closer relatives of Physalis.
Elsewhere I read that some species of Physalis are edible and some are poisonous. (Solanum fruits also run from the edible such as tomato [1] to the deadly.) Googling tells me that the unripe fruits of Physalis alkengii are "HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN" (emphasis in source). Personally I wouldn't risk eating the fruits even when ripe.
Google for Physalis poisonous, Physalis toxic or Physalis edible, for more information.
[1] The botanists have sunk Lysopersicon into Solanum.
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Stewart Robert Hinsley
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