Monday, August 13, 2012

Ground Cherries

When we lived in France last year, ground cherries were a common accompaniment to the dinner or dessert.  So last winter when we saw Aunt Molly's ground cherry seeds on the Hudson Valley Seed Library site we were thrilled.  They are such a funny little fruit with their husks and unique flavor.  Now with the harvest coming in, we are trying to figure out just what to do with the large number of ground cherries we pick daily.  While we love to pick them and just pop them into our mouths, there were more coming in then we could eat, and a little summer salsa was perfect for this hot weather we've been having. 

Just like tomatoes, we started the ground cherries inside 3-8 weeks before the last frost.  We were surprised how slowly the seedlings grew and a little concerned when we put them in the ground and they were still so tiny.  The photo below shows the ground cherries (in front) and the tomatoes in April (they were both planted at the same time).

Within a few weeks of putting them outside, they got BIG.  We have about 8 plants outside at the moment.  The single ground cherry plant in the photo below is our biggest.

Starting at the beginning of August, the ground cherry husks started to brown and drop to the ground.  We've been harvesting them off the ground and putting any green ones on a windowsill for a day.  Husking these little fruits has been one of our favorite activities lately (perfect for little fingers).

The fruits are golden and a tad sweeter then tomatoes, with a bit of citrus flavor. 

 Here's today's fresh ground cherry salsa recipe:

Ingredients: adjust the amounts by your preference and what's available
  • several tomatoes
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • ground cherries
  • onion (1)
  • cilantro
  • a squeeze of lime juice
  • a drizzle of honey
  • a bit of salt
  • a pepper (optional)


 Dice the tomatoes, garlic, ground cherries, onion, peppet, and cilantro.  Put in a strainer to let out some of the tomato juice (skip this step if you like really juicy salsa).  Mix in the honey, salt and lime juice and serve.  If you aren't serving right away, leave out the honey, salt, and lime juice until right before serving.

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Here are a few more ground cherry recipes we'll be trying soon:

Ground Cherry Pie
Ground Cherry Jam
Ground Cherry Marmalade
Ground Cherry Coffee Cake
Ground Cherry and Vanilla Compote


  1. Your salsa looks delicious. And how cool about the ground cherries, I will have to see if we can grow then here, Reece would love it!

  2. Interesting. I have never even heard of ground cherries. The husks look a lot like tomatillos, but they don't sound like they taste anything like them. Thanks for sharing!

  3. WOW! I have never heard of ground cherries. I shall go crawl back under the rock from where I came.....

    I think those would be great to grow. We will have to check that out.

    1. They are fun to grow- and they are new to us as well!

  4. Glad to see and hear of your tiny seedlings being planted and taking off outdoors. Last year I didn't plant my seedlings but this year I'm starting earlier and WILL get them in

  5. There is a scientific reason why cherries may have this effect when considering gout, because they do contain anthocyanidins, which are natural substances known to reduce pain and also bring down your uric acid levels.
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