Golden berries feel sticky due to the consistency of their skin, their high molecular weight, and the amount of sugar and fatty acids they contain. Golden berries belong to the tomatillo family, which explains some of their characteristics. For example, imagine a tomatillo sliced in half: the juice, seeds, and soft material that make up the inside are very similar to that of golden berries. This combination of high sugar levels, fats, and the thick, but soft interior of the berry creates a syrup-like film that coats the fruit’s thin skin.
Are Golden Berries Supposed to Be Slimy?
It’s normal for golden berries to be slimy. You should only be concerned if they are excessively oily on the outside. For instance, if they appear to be “melting” into each other or getting mushed together, it is likely a sign that the fruit is rotting. However, a slimy feel and an oily appearance are typical characteristics of the golden berry.
- It is normal for golden berries to be slimy.
- High-weight sugars that protect the growing berry contribute to an oily skin texture.
- Linoleic acid and seed oil enhance the sticky, slimy surface of golden berries.
- Excessive stickiness or a very mushy appearance may be a sign of rotting.
Compounds called “high molecular weight sugars” contribute significantly to the slimy outer consistency of golden berries. These sugars protect the fruit from seed predators, which would impede their growth process. The primary fatty acid in golden berries is linoleic acid, which also creates a slimy feel on the outer berry. The seed oil and whole berry oil in each individual fruit enhances this slimy texture and appearance. Interestingly, the unique, sticky composition of golden berries makes them ideal for jams, jellies, and fruit pies.
Are Golden Berries Waxy?
Golden berries typically have a waxy feel immediately after they are removed from their husks. They are encased in a tomatillo-like waxy covering, which is high in tocopherols. The latter is the major component of vitamin E. The husk also has high levels of vitamin K1 and beta-carotene, which also play a role in the development of this outer film. Because of these substances, the skin of each berry is initially quite waxy, and only slightly sticky and oily.
- Golden berries usually have a distinct waxy surface after their husk is removed.
- Several substances, including vitamin K1, contribute to the waxy film.
- The wax-like surface is temporary and protects the berries during harvesting.
After being completely removed from the husk and allowed to sit in the open air, the skin of the berry gives way to a smoother consistency, which is much more sticky and oily to the touch. This slimy surface is generally permanent and the former wax-like feel does not return. Therefore, golden berries are indeed waxy, but only temporarily. It is believed that the waxy coating of the husk keeps the rather thin skin of the berry intact during harvesting.
How Do You Wash Golden Berries?
You can wash golden berries with a standard produce wash or plain water. However, like most soft fruits and vegetables, it is best to leave them unwashed until you are ready to eat them or use them in a recipe. This is because the filmy, sticky surface of the berries protects them from fungi, bacteria, and other substances that might destroy the fruit. Excessive moisture leads to faster rotting as well. It is better to allow the berries to use their natural protection than to wash them in advance of eating or baking.
- Standard produce wash or plain water can be used to wash golden berries.
- Wait to wash golden berries until just before you want to use them.
- Golden berries should not be put in a large container for washing—piling them together may crush the fruit.
Unlike strawberries and other sturdy berries, golden berries have particularly thin skin. For this reason, you should wash them in single layers. Never pack an entire large colander with berries for a vigorous wash. This is because the weight can break or crush the skin of the berries on the bottom layers. Even a slight bruise or break is enough to begin the decaying process. If one berry starts to decay, the rot will spread through the entire batch at a rapid pace.
Are Golden Berries Sticky After Being Washed?
Even after washing golden berries, they will remain slightly sticky or slimy to the touch. However, most of the sticky film is removed after washing. It is almost impossible to wash them hard enough to remove all remnants of the oily film without damaging their skin, though. Wash them gently for the best results, and don’t worry about removing every last trace of oil.
Why Are Golden Berries Oily?
There are several reasons golden berries feel oily or sticky. They are members of the tomatillo family and have a similar make-up as that fruit. The consistency of their skin and the high amount of fatty acids and sugars they contain work together to create an oily outer surface.
- Golden berries belong to the tomatillo family.
- High molecular weight contributes to the oily film of golden berries.
- Golden berries feature a pod-like, soft interior and thin skin.
- High sugar levels and a soft, seeded interior leads to an oily surface.
- The berries have a temporary waxy coating just after they are removed from their husks.
- Washing removes much of the sticky coating.
- Washing the berries vigorously enough to remove all traces of sliminess can damage the fruit.
It’s natural for golden berries to have a sticky feel. So, if your berries are a little sticky when your first handle them, it doesn’t mean they’ve gone bad. Give the berries a good wash and they’ll be ready to eat.