Ground cherries (also known as husk tomatoes) were recorded as early as 1837 in Pennsylvania. Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry is a Polish variety cherished for its unique super sweet taste! They are generally easy to grow.
Ground cherries should start bearing fruit in late July to August and continue until the first frost. If the fruit falls to the ground before they are ripe, don’t worry! Simply gather up the dropped cherries with the husks on and keep them at room temperature in a basket. In about a week, their color will deepen from light yellow to the warm apricot gold that signals ripeness. The papery husk will turn brown.
Store ground cherries in their husks. They will stay fresh for up to two months if kept in a cool place in a basket or mesh bag with room to breathe. When you’re ready to eat them, remove the husk and rinse the fruits. Husked fruits keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. They are easy to freeze. Simply spread the husked, washed fruits on a baking sheet (with a rim so they don’t roll off!) and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, package them into freezer bags, label and date.
Ground cherries can be used for all sorts of tasty treats! They are good as preserves, in pies or pancakes, or in compotes over ice cream! They also can serve as a substitute for regular tomatoes in salsa recipes.
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