Last Call for Ground Cherries!

market cherries

There’s a little window that stretches from late September to mid-October that offers the best time for farmers’ market goers. It’s when summer meets fall. Signs for just-picked tomatoes perched next to new varieties of acorn squash; sweet bell peppers mingling with sugar pie pumpkins; honeycrisp apples by the bag are sold next to Brussels sprouts by the stalk. It’s last call for summer, first call for fall.

But as the leaves begin to turn from green to gold along our crisp Packer countryside, let’s not forget about another golden gem dropping to the ground. We’re talking about the final days of ground cherry season. It’s time to get them while you can, and preserve them in the best possible way—pie. (Freeze for up to 3 months.)

These pearl-sized tomatoes taste like they’ve been injected with pineapple juice and vanilla, and because they’re high in pectin, they’re perfect for pies. You know what else is high in pectin? Apples. So go ahead and throw those in, too. After all, you can buy them side by side.

Old-Fashioned Ground Cherry Apple Pie

Just like grandma used to make, this comforting dessert makes good use of ground cherries from the garden or farmer's market.

Just like grandma used to make, this comforting dessert makes good use of ground cherries from the garden or farmer’s market.

Recipe adapted from the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market


2 1/2 cups ground cherries
3 apples, cored and chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1(9 inch) pie shell

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together ground cherries, apples, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together first 4 ingredients of topping. Cut in butter.
4. Place ground cherry filling in pie shell. Cover with topping.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes.


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