Friday, August 19, 2011

Ground Cherries

Ever heard of them? I hadn’t until I was at my local farmer’s market and one of the farmers had me try one. Now if you know me at all you know that I like little things, well let me be clear, things like miniature pot belly pigs, humming birds, baby beets, and pigmy varieties of food products. Why? Because they are cute and I am a girl and I like cute things. Ground cherries look like tiny, golden tomatillos on the outside wrapped in their papery husk and yellow cranberries when you pop them open. They taste like pineapple-y, citrus-y, figgy, snappy little treasures. I was so excited about these cool little things and asked everyone I know if they had ever heard of them, no one. Even cooler! I did a little research and found out that they are a part of the Nightshade family, and the genus: Physalis to which the tomatillo also belongs, are sometimes called Cape Gooseberries (although I think that these are something different), are native to the Americas and good in desserts, jams, jellies, or raw in salads or in salsas.  So I made a syrup, although they are labor intensive the work is worth it…would be good on ice cream or a biscuit or some good stinky cheese! If you see these things get some and let me know what you do with them!!!

Ground Cherry Syrup:
Makes about: a cup of syrup

2 cups ground cherries, husks removed
½ cup natural cane sugar
½ cup water
½ vanilla bean, scraped

            In a food processor, pulse the ground cherries 10-15 times. Place in a saucepan along with all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the mixture will coat the back of a spoon, at least 18-20 minutes but times will vary.  Careful not to reduce it too much, it will thicken up more when it cools, otherwise you will end up with candy.


  1. I actually had heard of them!!!

    But I pore through gardening catalogs and websites like some people peruse shoe stores or whatever normal people get excited about.

    I considered growing some on my patio garden, but as I had no idea what to actually DO with them quite yet...I opted for cherry tomatoes instead.

    I love how they look like they're paper lanterns, holding a tasty food prize inside! And yes...the cute smallness of them has definate appeal!

    Oh, and send a thanks to alton brown for the link to your delightful blog! I love finding someone else who enjoys both plants and food. :)

  2. You should try and grow them next year. I think they are so cool because they were so new to me. And they are beautiful. Nature is really amazing!
    I will pass on the thanks! And thanks for reading!

  3. I grew some this year but didn't know what to do with them. I'll have to try the syrup, thanks!

  4. I had them at a farmer's market and the next year when I started a garden I knew I HAD to grow them. They are incredibly easy to grow, pretty similar to tomatoes and extremely prolific. I had tons of them! I moved this year so I didn't have a garden but they are definitely going to be in the garden next year.

  5. Don't need to add sugar - freeze them and they naturally weep an unadulterated syrup - very sweet and very sticky - lesser yield but no added sugar and all the concentrated taste