This week’s box again showed Fall is coming quick with such Autumn favorites as broccoli, tri-color carrots, butternut squash, onions and romaine lettuce. Our featured delight this week comes a part of our fruit portioning in addition to the delicious apples and pears offered.
If you’ve never heard of them until they showed up in our box this week, ground cherries are one of those slightly obscure seasonal things—like purple long beans or kiwiberries—you’ll probably come across only by chance from a farm stand or a friend’s garden. If you do, consider yourself lucky!
These little gems are in the same genus as tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica)—hence the similar papery husk—and the same family as tomatoes. Ground cherries taste slightly sweet and tropical, with a texture that’s somewhere between a tomato and a grape. Their common name comes from the fact that the fruit falls to the ground when it is ripe. They are also know by others as ground tomatoes, husk cherries, winter cherries and even strawberry tomatoes.
Ground cherries are very versatile, suitable in both sweet and savory dishes. You can just unwrap the fruits and eat them raw, like cherry tomatoes, but here are some other recipe ideas:
1. Puree them into a salsa verde, or chop them in into this ground cherry salsa.
2. Bake a ground cherry pie, upside-down cake, or a husk cherry and plum tart.
3. Layer halved ground cherries with fresh tomatoes and basil for an easy appetizer.
4. Make a simple salad from greens, ground cherries and goat cheese, or get a little more complex with husk cherry Waldorf salad.
5. Ground cherry jam is “easy peasy,” we hear.