Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ground Cherries

We love ground cherries! They are an old, old fruit that is making a comeback. I have even seen them in a grocery store recently! Up until a few short years ago, I had never seen one. Now I have a garden full of them, growing.

They are a small golden fruit in a husk, just like my picture above. The fruit is juicy and sweet, tasting sort of like a pineapple tomato cross. Its very good!

I have old recipes for ground cherry pie and ground cherry jam. I am going to make both this year and ground cherry wine (of course). I might also can some for winter pie filling. We are trying to save freezer space for the corn.

Last year I only grew a few, about six plants, and we got enough fruit to make a pie or two. This year I have A LOT of ground cherries growing. These are my ground cherries. The big ones are now shoulder hight!

I had planted them previously in a dry and not too healthy section of the flowerbed and they only reached about 2 ft in height. This year they are in the well manured lasagna garden. What a difference! They are covered in fruit too!

The fruit looks a lot like a little tomatillo when it is growing and they are related. I grow the Aunt Molly's ground cherry variety. Its the sweetest and the most common.

I don't usually use a recipe to make pies but I have listed the ingredients that I intend to use for the ground cherry pie, below. See previous post,
"Making Pies Without A Recipe". This will be the first year that I have made pies and jam with them but I think they will be delicious!

4 cups husked and washed ground cherries
1 cup sugar (they are sweet by themselves)
6 tablespoons flour to start
Directions: Cook in pot until thick. Sweeten to taste and continue to thicken if needed. Pour into unbaked pie shell, cover with top crust and bake at 350F until pastry is golden brown.

I'm not quite sure of the recipe for jam. I am going to find something close on the Certo recipe paper that comes in the box and just use that.

The ground cherries are not ready yet. When they are I will be very busy!! I hope the ground cherries and chichiquelites (garden huckleberries) are not both ready at the same time!!


Mr. H. said...

I can't believe how big your ground cherry plants are, simply amazing. Hope ours do half as well this year.

The Japanese Redneck said...

Okay, I need to gather some seed to trade you for some of both of those!

Anonymous said... has a recipe for ground cherry jam.

When I grew them I lost a lot the first year when they ripened and dropped to the ground and gave gourmet treats to the local animals.
Learned to spread a sheet under the plants and harvest - picked the fruit up - several times a day.

We loved them raw, pie and cooked in a simple sugar syrup to top pancakes & ice cream. Bellen

~Tonia said...

DO they come back or do you have to plant them every year? What do they taste like just to give a reference. I donthave any fruit trees and would like more fruits like this to make jams with.

Angie said...

This is my first year growing these, i planted 4 by seed and they have been growing like weeds. We eat a lot of fruit so i thought these would be nice as a change. I was hoping for jam, but wine, now that sounds good!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I'll be happy to trade you some seeds, Ramona! I'll have lots of the ground cherries and the chichiquelites! I will be looking for tested delicious and useful heirloom vegetable varieties for next year. ;-)

Mr. H, I can't believe how big they are either! I have never seen them that big before! It must be all that old chicken manure and compost on top of the cardboard in that lasagna bed. Old Chicken manure is wondrous stuff! I hope your's do well this year too!

Tonia, they are not perennial. You have to plant them again every year. They taste like a sweet pineapple - tomato cross. Quite sweet and delicious just by themselves. They don't even need sugar.

The chichiquelites (garden huckleberries) planted with them, however, are just the opposite. They are not even good to eat raw. They have to be cooked down with a lot of sugar! When cooked down and made into jam they are unbelievably delicious with a similar to blueberry taste, but don't expect them to be good right off the plant.

They are tolerable if ripe enough, but black and shiny is not ripe. You have to wait until they soften and get dull before picking for the best flavour.

I will look at the recipe on Thanks!

Angie, I planted so many this year specifically to have enough for wine. Its my "wine bed" they are growing in. I am going to can a lot of them for winter pie filling too.

Leigh said...

I was really interested in this post. I'm not very familiar with ground cherries but am always looking for something new for the garden. Thanks for the info!

Wills Kitchen said...

I don't think I have ever seen them much less tast them. Hey Ramona if you get some I might want to try one.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

They're good, Will and prolific! They reseed here like crazy. I have them growing out in the field where I tossed the compost last year. Those are only about a foot high, though. That chicken manure sure makes a difference!

The chichiquelites (garden huckleberries) are prolific and reseeding annuals, as well, but, like I said, barely tolerable raw. They do make a whopping good jam!

I'll have lots of seed to trade!

I will write a seed trading post this fall listing what I have for trade and what I am looking for. It'll be fun!

I trade for most of my seeds. I will be looking for some lemon cucumber seeds so if you have those and want to trade, please save some. I also want some butternut, "sweet dumpling", and delicata squash seeds and maybe some "upper ground sweet potato" squash if mine doesn't grow fruit soon. Its a bit behind the others and I only have the one plant.

I'll be looking for some herbs that I don't already have, too.

The Gingerbread House said...

I never heard of ground cherries before! they look delicious..will you be sharing seeds , I'd love to have some for next year..
My garden this year wasn't fruitful at all..only the Deer enjoyed everything..:o( Ginny

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I will have lots and lots of seeds to trade this fall for anyone interested in trading or for an SASBE (self addressed stamped bubble envelope). I'm already eating our first ground cherries this year and they'll keep producing until the frost takes them.