Thieves and vandals!

groundcherries on plant

I think I may have mentioned that I planted a ground cherry this year. Someone at the farmers’ market was selling them in the spring; she said they were in the tomato family, had husks like cape gooseberries, and tasted sort of like a cross between tomato and pineapple. I thought huh, that sounds interesting, and bought one. 

Well, it grew. And grew. It became quite enormous, actually, and it’s COVERED in ground cherries. You wait for them to drop, scoop them up, and then… do something with them.

What exactly to do with them was the question. Eaten fresh, they’re interesting but not to my mind outstanding.

Although a plant produces a lot overall, not a lot drop at any given time, so now I understand why they say you need quite a few plants if you want to do anything significant with them. But I managed to gather a cup’s worth, and made ground cherry compote. (Recipe here.) I tried it over raspberries and ice cream. It was GOOD.

Suddenly ground cherries became a lot more interesting. However… they’ve become interesting to Someone Else as well… I suspect squirrels or mice. At any rate, instead of finding fallen ground cherries, I’m finding a lot of ground cherry husks, with the cherry neatly excised.

ground cherry husk

But I may have found the solution; gather them at the end of a dry sunny day, before the night predators emerge. Yesterday and today the harvest was fairly good—a heaping handful each day. If it doesn’t freeze, maybe I’ll be collecting them for a while.

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