Ground Cherries

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One of my most anticipated crops this year was a fruit that I had read so much about but never tasted: the ground cherry.

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I was able to get some free seeds from gardenhoard.com, and grew this little plant. It has been quite hot, and the plant has suffered, but it is still producing fruit.

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The fruit is ripe when it falls to the ground. I recommend letting it ripen a day or so more, or the flavor will be a bit reminiscent of a green tomato.

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Eating them is simple. Just peel back the papery husk and eat the fruit. There are hints of pineapple flavor, but it really is in a class all of its own. I’m actually not quite sure that I like them.

However, I’ve gone to so much trouble to get and grow the fruit that I want to like them. I’m considering making jam. In spite of its size, the single plant has been quite productive.

Have you ever had ground cherries? What did you think? Some seem to have such fond childhood memories of them.

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10 responses »

  1. I first planted ground cherries maybe 4-5 yrs ago. Since then, my garden is never without them. They reseed themselves easily. In fact, the ones that planted themselves seem to be bigger and healthier! Just like you, I’m not all that crazy about them and not sure what else to do with them, so most of them just fall to the ground and stay there! 🙂

  2. I grew them for the first time last spring and really liked them. The tricky part was getting them to ripen. They had to sit for a week or two. I saved about a dozen for seeds and they never really dried out even after several months. I ended up squishing them in a bowl of water, removing the pulp, and letting the seeds drop to the bottom. Then I strained them in a fine mesh strainer. I’ll plant them again in October once the weather breaks here in SW FL.

    • Maybe I’m not letting them ripen long enough. I do have some that have been sitting for a while, maybe I’ll try them and see if that helps the taste for me.

    • They seem to be a bit more tolerant of the heat than tomatoes, but are grown much the same way. Mine didn’t need staking, though. I think you should be able to grow them too.

  3. I love them as a novelty, especially since they grow wild in my yard. They tend to be a bit bitter when under-ripe (and they’re slightly toxic). I’ve heard the flavor can vary from type to type. If you don’t like the type you have, plant another variety and see how that tastes!

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