Ground cherries are also known by many as Cape gooseberry, Chinese Lantern, Goldenberry, Husk Cherry, Peruvian Ground Cherry, Poha and Poha Berry. What ever you call these cute little berries, sometimes you just need to know what to do with them. So here are my favorite 5 delicious ground cherry recipes.
What is a ground cherry?
Ground cherries are a close relative of tomatillos, they share the same papery husk, hanging in a pretty self-grown lantern on the bush and they are both belong in the group known as husk tomato, despite neither of them actually being a tomato.
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They are also closely related to tomatoes, and look very similar to a small, golden cherry tomato. However, the flavor is much sweeter than either a tomato or a tomatillo, more like a berry or fruit than a vegetable.
Ground Cherry vs Cape Gooseberry
While this article treats them both the same, because they do taste similar, they can be used in the same recipes, and some people do use their names interchangeably. They are actually different plants.
Cape gooseberries (Physalis peruviana)
The cape gooseberry is also known as goldenberry, Aztec berry, Inca berry or Peruvian cherry. They are native to the tropical South America and grow to around 1.5m high. While treated as an annual in places that freeze, if you have it planted in a warm sheltered spot, plants can be pruned back by about one third after fruiting and they will continue to grow the next season.
Cape gooseberry fruit are ripe they are a bright orange colour and are about the size of a medium to large cherry tomato.
They have a delicious tangy, tropical flavor. Fruit will keep well in the husk for 3-4 weeks in a cool, dry, dark place.
Ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa)
Ground cherries are also known as Cossack pineapple are native to eastern North America. They have a lower growing habit than the cape gooseberries but can be eaten, cooked and stored in a similar manner. The fruit ripens to a golden/lemon color with a refreshing tart tangy flavor.
How do you grow ground cherries or cape gooseberries?
Growing ground cherries is very easy, and suitable for beginners. Usually these shrubs are grown as annuals, and once you have them, they will usually self-sow every year.
If you have long winters or very cold springs, you can save the seeds in the same way you would save a tomato’s seeds and then you can grow seedlings in pots indoors ready to plant out after the frosts have passed.
They like well drained, well manured soil. They are tolerant to the heat as long as they get plenty of water, but a heavy frost will kill them.
They do not need staked or pruned, simply plant them in to the soil and water them as required to keep them moist but not soaking wet.
Once the papery husk of the fruit has dried, and the fruit inside is golden, they are ready to harvest.
How do you eat ground cherries?
You can eat the fruit fresh, in the same way you would eat a cherry tomato or a berry. Simply remove the husk and eat them whole. They make a tasty addition to salads or on top of yogurt.
Ground cherries can also be used in a variety of recipes, or dehydrated, canned or frozen to use later.
5 Delicious Ground Cherry Recipes
Here are 5 yummy ways to use your ground cherries!
Ground Cherry Jam Recipe
Ground cherries make a wonderful jam. It is easy to make, but because of the large volume of water in the fruit, it does take up to an hour to simmer to jam consistency.
Because of level of pectin in the fruit, you do not need to add more to them.
- 3 cups Ground Cherries, husked
- 1 1/2 cup Sugar (can reduce to 1 cup if you like)
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- Add the husked fruit to a large saucepan
- Add the lemon juice and cook over low heat until the fruit have popped and released their liquid. Mash them up with a spoon to help with the process.
- Add the sugar and cook over medium heat until the jam thickens, about 15 minutes, it can take as long as 45 minutes.
- Pour into clean preserving jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, or process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes to be able to store at room temperature for at least a year, refrigerate once opened.
Canning Instructions: 1/4 inch headspace and 5 minute water bath process time
Ground cherry Salsa
This is a fresh and bright salsa, that I use raw and make fresh each time. You can also replace some of the tomatoes or tomatillo in your favorite canned salsa recipe and can it as you usually would with no issues.
- 2 Cups ground cherries, halved or quartered
- 1/2 Medium red onion, diced
- 1 Bell pepper/capsicum, diced
- 1 Jalapeño pepper, diced
- 1 Clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tsp honey or sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Chop all the ingredients and mix well. Will store in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can replace the ground cherries with cherry tomatoes or mix and match for what you have. The peppers can be swapped for what ever you have available. Aim for one sweet and one hot.
This is delicious with tortilla chips or with grilled fish.
Goldenberry Burrata Salad
This goldenberry salad with burrata and tomatoes is a fresh and bright dish that’s a great light lunch for two or an appetizer for four.
Goldenberry & Blueberry Pie
Turn goldenberries and blueberries into a simple crumble topped pie. It’s a perfectly easy way to turn the fun fruit into a delicious dessert!
This chile verde is the definition of comfort food! Slowly cooked pork shoulder with physalis, green chillies and a handful of spices delivers a stew full of flavour and heat.
Other ways to use ground cherries or cape gooseberry
There are so many ways to use these sweet/tart little fruits. Here are a few other ways to use them that don’t really need a fancy recipe.
Dehydrated Ground Cherries
This is technically not a recipe – but it is a great way to preserve your ground cherries or cape gooseberries for later.
The end result is not too dis-similar to dried cranberries, and can be eaten as they are, baked in to goods or added to muesli, trail mix or granola.
Simply slice your fruit in half and place on a baking paper lined tray. Place in the oven on its lowest setting for 6-8 hours or in a dehydrator for 8-12 hours or until they are dry but not crispy.
Store in a jar at room temperature.
Ground Berry Juice
Fresh ground cherry juice is also quite delightful, add a splash of lemon juice for extra tang, or mix with pineapple for a sweeter combination.
What is your favorite way to use grown cherries or cape gooseberries at your place? Tell me about it in the comments below.
1. Add the husked fruit to a large saucepan Leave 1/4 inch head space and waterbath for 5 minutes
2. Add the lemon juice and cook over low heat until the fruit have popped and released their liquid. Mash them up with a spoon to help with the process.
3. Add the sugar and cook over medium heat until the jam thickens, about 15 minutes, it can take as long as 45 minutes.
4. Pour into clean preserving jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, or process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes to be able to store at room temperature for at least a year, refrigerate once opened.
1. Add the husked fruit to a large saucepan
Leave 1/4 inch head space and waterbath for 5 minutes