Ground Cherries

One of the advantages to joining a CSA is that by its very nature, it enables you to try produce you wouldn’t normally choose – or even find – in the grocery store. CSA shares are so notorious for this, actually, that the Huffington Post even did a series entitled “WTF, CSA?” unpacking some of the unfamiliar produce one might encounter. It’s perhaps worth noting that the name of this blog is a send-up to that series.

One of my favorite CSA discoveries is the ground cherry. They’re also apparently known as cape gooseberries, though the first thought that comes to mind when you see them is probably not one of fruit!

If you think they look like miniature tomatillos, you are spot on. Ground cherries are in the same genus as the tomatillo. The distinctive paper wrapping is present, and I’d say they share a similar texture. However, these beauties are much smaller. To eat them, you pinch the skin off…

Which reveals the fruit. (See how tiny they are!)

Ground cherries are firm, with a pop of seeds when you bite down on them. We often get a choice of ground cherries or cherry tomatores, though they are not comparable in taste and texture. Ground cherries share more of the citrus-like edge that tomatillos have.

I love eating these raw and by themselves, and often most of the point doesn’t survive my prep-time snacking on a Tuesday night. However, I have stumbled across this pie recipe that sounds too good to pass up. The next time we get a pint of ground cherries, I’ll bake one and report back on the results.

Do you have any favorite uses for ground cherries? Feel free to share in the comments!

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