On Tuesday, I set out for another lunchtime walk. While I was out, I checked on the forsythia that I had seen in bloom a little while ago. It was still going (though not going strong).

Forsythia

Forsythia

I continued another 200 yards or so to where I had found the strawberry tomato (Physalis pruinosa) a little while ago too. When I saw it before, none of the fruits were ripe, but some were quite overripe, shriveled, and moldy. I found the same thing on this walk.

Physalis pruinosa - unripe, still in the bladders.

Physalis pruinosa - unripe, still in the bladders.


Physalis pruinosa - overripe, shriveled, and moldy

Physalis pruinosa - overripe, shriveled, and moldy


Physalis pruinosa - still not quite ripe, but closer

Physalis pruinosa - still not quite ripe, but closer


According to Peterson, these are somewhat toxic when unripe, but very good when they ripen. Sometimes the lantern will fall off the plant while the fruit is still unripe, but the fruit will ripen inside.

I looked on the ground for some of those, and though I found a few, the fruits were of the shriveled, moldy variety. But if you can ripen a tomato on a windowsill, why not a strawberry tomato? Especially if it can ripen on the ground. I picked three promising looking, unripe fruits, stuffed them in my jacket pocket, and continued my walk.

I found some autumn olive berries still on the bush, but they were all shriveled and nasty looking. I sampled one anyhow and confirmed that its looks were consistent with its taste.

When I got back to the office, I placed the strawberry tomatoes on my desk. I peeled back the lanterns so I could keep a close eye on them. I don’t want them to shrivel and mold when I’m not looking. Wikipedia says they will keep for 30-45 days, so by the new year, I’ll either taste them or throw them out.