Wednesday, September 22, 2010
have you ever heard of ground cherries? they're one of my favorite fruits and a must have in my garden. they are a small, yellow fruit, about the size of a small cherry tomato, and they are enclosed in a lantern type husk, similar to tomatillos. the taste is very hard to describe, a little tomato, maybe grape, but very sweet. there is definitely some nostalgia for me when it comes to the ground cherry. my grandma always had ground cherries in her garden and i always looked forward to going out to her garden to find them or better yet she had a bowl full waiting for me. every time i pop one of these little guys in my mouth, i think of her. i love it.
it seemed that only people in the area where my grandma lived had ever heard of them and grew them. we lived 3 hours away and no one around us knew what they were. i now live in the same area as where my grandma lived and they are still popular around here, but if you go outside the area there aren't too many people who have heard of them. i know very little about this yummy little berry, so i Googled it. according to Wikipedia they are also called cape gooseberries, but i've never heard that name before. they are similar to the tomato plant and are in the same family as the tomatillo. i think they are native to central and south america. they are an annual for us but they will reseed. i guess you can find them along roadsides, but there are many different plants in this family and not all are safe to eat.
i grew mine from seeds from Seeds Savers Exchange. the day i planted my little plants in the garden, we received an unexpected hail storm and they all died. luckily i was able to get more from a friend who grows them on their farm.
last year i made jam from them, this year i might try a pie. my grandma used to can them with either apples or pears. they also store very well for months. last winter i was able to buy them at the farmers market in january! what a treat. my favorite way to eat them though is right out of the garden, that's amelia's favorite way too.