Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Ground Cherry

I seem to have a faint memory of eating these out of someone's garden as a child. They were on my wish list for next year but I decided to throw caution to the wind and order some seeds up before it was too late........now I have to find a spot to plant my 'Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry' keeping in mind they are part of the Nightshade family. The seeds got a late start and have just sprouted. They hopefully will be well on their way to producing some tasty fruit for us this fall.

These small fruits are said to be a nice addition to fruit salads and ice cream but the hands down favorite seems to be pie. I have never had any myself but I am looking forward to trying one of the recipes below:

Amish Ground Cherry Pie- 2 C ground cherries, 1 C water, 1tsp salt, 1 C sugar, 4 T cornstarch,
1 T real lemon juice, additional C water, nutmeg, pastry for a 2 crust pie. Bring cherries, salt & water to a boil. Blend together sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, water, and nutmeg to taste; add to cherry mixture and allow to cool. Put in unbaked shell and top with crust. Bake until browned (no oven temp. given).

Ground-Cherry-Pie-II- http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ground-Cherry-Pie-II/Detail.aspx

Also, the fruits can be dipped in chocolate or caramel using the peeled back husk as a handle. If not allowed to fully ripen they may have an off flavor and parts of the plant are poisonous, more on this below:

From Mother Earth News- "Expect this garden crop—which prefers medium-dry
soil—to sprout early and grow rapidly. It quickly puts out yellow flowers with
brown or purple centers, and will continue to bloom and bear until the first
frost. Around July, the fruit (which develops in a husk) will begin to drop to
the ground and—even though it's not fully ripe when it does so—you should gather
the cherries as they fall, since they're favorites of many animals and
"Inside the husk, you'll find a small berry—about half an inch in
diameter—with a tomatolike skin and, when ripe, a sweet flavor similar to that
of a strawberry. The color of the mature cherry will vary from species to
species: It may be yellow, red, purple, or brown. And (again, according to the
species in question) it can be poisonous when green . . . so be sure to let the
fruit ripen in the husk until it's soft and sweet. (I have often stored the
unhusked cherries for months. In fact, I was once able to prepare a fresh
ground-cherry pie for Christmas dinner!) "

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