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Old 09-13-2014, 11:01 AM   #1
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ISO uses for ground cherries

So, while at the farmer's market this morning, I bought a pint of ground cherries. This is a fruit I'm not very familiar with. It sounds strange, but they sort of taste like a cross between a grape and tomato, with crunchy tiny seeds like a kiwi fruit. A little sweet, and a little tart.

Has anyone used these before and, if so, what did you make with them?

I'm having some guests over tonight and making pan seared duck breast. I thought these might go nice in a sauce. Or maybe I'll add them to the salad or wild rice pilaf I'm planning to serve with it.


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Old 09-13-2014, 12:31 PM   #2
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I have wondered what to do with them myself. I have no idea. I have seen them for sale. They are related to tomatillos.
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:32 PM   #3
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I am assuming that those are the ground cherries like my grandma grew. We ate them as is. But, you could do a quick pickle or chutney. You could also make a salsa where the ground cherries replace the tomatoes. I make cranberry salsa instead of cranberry sauce to go with turkey. Or, you could go with a ground cherry pie/tart. (Ground Cherry Pie II Recipe - Allrecipes.com). I'd wing it. I'm not much help.

The DH and I were discussing ground cherries vs. tomatillos yesterday while we were harvesting the sunflowers (he hates tomatillos--they naturalized and he thinks "they're not tomatoes." I was trying to explain to him that they are not a substitute for green tomatoes and that they are a member of the ground cherry family. Highly valued by those who want to make Mexican recipes). I use tomatillos in salsa, chili, etc. I was telling him about the ground cherries my grandma used to grow and that this was the time of year we'd eat them. We'd just pick, peel, and eat them, way back when. I think they'd work with any of your ideas. Enjoy!
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:32 PM   #4
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Hey Steve, they have husks, which makes me think they are related to gooseberries and are not a cherry at all. Have you tasted them? Are they tart like a tomatillo?
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:41 PM   #5
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Hey Steve, they have husks, which makes me think they are related to gooseberries and are not a cherry at all. Have you tasted them? Are they tart like a tomatillo?
They are related, but unlike tomatillos, they are not sticky when you husk/peel them. We just ate them like grapes when I was growing up. And, they don't taste like tomatillos at all.
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
So, while at the farmer's market this morning, I bought a pint of ground cherries. This is a fruit I'm not very familiar with. It sounds strange, but they sort of taste like a cross between a grape and tomato, with crunchy tiny seeds like a kiwi fruit. A little sweet, and a little tart.

Has anyone used these before and, if so, what did you make with them?

I'm having some guests over tonight and making pan seared duck breast. I thought these might go nice in a sauce. Or maybe I'll add them to the salad or wild rice pilaf I'm planning to serve with it.

They are called physalis or Cape Gooseberry. They are related to those pretty Chinese lanterns that people grow in their garden. You can use them with other fruits in a fruit salad dessert or use them as some restaurants do as a rather unnecessary decoration on a dessert plate along with squiggles of chocolate sauce. In the latter case you leave the papery seed case on and fold it back like the petals of a flower. You can use them in savoury dishes and they are very high in pectin so make good jam. The ones in your picture don't look ripe. They are usually more orange-y in colour.

Only eat the ripe berries. Do not eat unripe berries or any other part of the plant, including the casing. The plant is related to potatoes and tomatoes (solanacae) and ALL parts of the plant, including UNRIPE berries are poisonous. The husks can be left on if you are using them as decoration but you must warn your family and guests not to eat them.
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Old 09-13-2014, 03:40 PM   #7
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I picked them up at the Union Square Farmers Market in NYC last year, and decided to grow them in the garden. ( They grow like weeks). I just ate them like grapes. I didnt plant them this year , but they seemed to have seeded themselves, so I actually have about 4 plants growing outside . Definitely Tomatillo-like in texture and appearance ( just a lot smaller, and the ripened fruit is a yellow/ orange color ( or at least the variety I have is ). Raw, Salsa, Pie, jam... these are all the things Ive read up on when I grew them last year. I just had them raw though.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:02 AM   #8
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I did end up using them in a salad. I made up individual plates of baby arugula, cucumber, heirloom tomato slices, goat cheese, and ground cherries. I really like the flavor.

Salsa... yeah, I could see that. I bet it would be good.
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