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.