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Ground cherries

Ground Cherry


At the Valley Junction farmer's market today, I ran across an unfamiliar fruit: ground cherries. They looked like tiny physalises, but tasted rather different from any I'd had before. On the basis of a sample, I bought a punnet of them. We ate them for dessert.

They're small, perhaps a centimeter across, and clearly a physalis relative. The fruits themselves are densier, jammier than any physalis I've had, a sort of hazelnut-cherry combo of flavor with a touch of very ripe melon. The woman who sold them to me said they're frequently used in making jam.

This website says they might be Physalis pruinosa, also known as the husk tomato. Wikipedia lists an astonishingly large range of variations on the genus Physalis, most known by some variation of ground cherry. I don't know which kind they were. Not a cape gooseberry/physalis as I've met them but, indeed, a relative.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
gillpolack
Aug. 20th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
They also make great chutneys and salsas.
clanwilliam
Aug. 20th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
They're mentioned in the Little House books in the Long Winter - the husk tomatoes are the last they harvest and ground cherries also get mentioned in the series. I wondered what they were for years until I saw Cape gooseberries and then I wondered no more.
friend_of_tofu
Aug. 20th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC)
OMG WANT!! I wonder how easy they would be to grow in a greenhouse? And where to get seeds...
zcat_abroad
Aug. 20th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
They look like something we had growing in Thailand. Never a very marketable fruit, but if you could find enough, they made great jam, especially when mixed with something a bit sweeter.

I know them as cape gooseberries, but there's some other name, niggling at the back of my mind, something to do with paper lanterns.

Possibly this?
owlfish
Aug. 20th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
But they are not cape gooseberries! Those are substantially larger. These are just relatives, like the tomatillo is, which is what made them unfamiliar and interesting. Same genus, different species.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )