Once extracted from its tiny attractive paper lantern-shaped wrapper, Ground Cherries may be eaten raw or used in salads, desserts, over ice cream, as a flavoring, and in jams and jellies served with meats or fresh cheeses. They can also be dried and eaten much like raisins or other small dried fruit. Ground Cherries contain large amounts of pectin, and are therefore suitable for jams, chutneys and pies.
They can be put in muffins and quick breads. Its flavor seems to get a different description from every person tasting them.
The texture is like a small cherry tomato, but the taste is sweet and complex with hints of melon, tomato, pineapple and strawberry.
Ground cherries were used by the Native Americans and the Pioneers alike. For good reason, the versatile fruit will keep for up to 6 months in its hull with good ventilation. They also freeze very well.
GROUND CHERRY SALSA
- 1/2 pint Ground Cherries halved
- 1/4 Red Onion diced
- 1/4 Jalapeño diced optional
- Cilantro chopped
- Red Bell Pepper, diced
- Splash of Lime Juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light tasting Olive Oil
- pinch of salt
Process Red Onion, jalapeno, Cilantro and Red Bell Pepper in a food processor until consistently chopped, put in bowl and add halved Ground Cherries. Splash Lime juice over, along with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Chill well and serve as a side dish or with nacho chips.
GROUND CHERRY PIE
- 2 1/2 cups ground cherries
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 (9 inch) pie shell
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell.
Mix brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle over cherries. Sprinkle water over top.
Mix together 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut butter in until crumbly. Top cherry mixture with crumbs.
Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and continue to bake for 25 minutes.
Variations: Use all ground cherries or a combination of other berries along with the cherries. Blueberries, blackberries or raspberries would be a great combination.
GROUND CHERRY JAM
- 2 cups ground cherries (husked)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup water
- Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
Husk and wash the ground cherries carefully. Measure the sugar and water into a large kettle. Bring to a full rolling boil, and boil for 2 minutes.
Add the cherries, lemon rinds, and juice. Bring to a full rolling boil again, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a clean towel, and let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
Next day, return to the heat, and again bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook gently until transparent (about 15 minutes). Immediately pour into hot, sterilized glasses; seal at once.
GROUND CHERRY RELISH
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup minced white onion
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Ground Cherries
- Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
On the stove over medium-high heat, in a small saucepan combine sugar and water. Stir until mixture is caramelized and golden. Add minced onion and apple cider vinegar. Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes, then add ground cherries. Allow the fruit cook through, until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper. Allow to cool or process in preserving jars.
CURRIED GROUND CHERRY CHUTNEY
- 1 1/2 cups ground cherries
- 1 small onion, shredded
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, place all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring from time to time until the mixture is syrupy. Let cool.
Store in pots and refrigerate.