The ground cherry trial was successful! In April I was browsing for tomato transplants on the Seed Savers Exchange web site when I came across the intriguing description for Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry. The plant spreads with low-lying branches that get so big, it is basically a bush. Little “lantern” husks dangle below the branches and serve as lovely sun catchers. To harvest, I just tap the husks and—if they are ripe—they drop right into my hand. I often have to hunt for cherries that already dropped or are knocked off as I move about the branches.
They are in the same genus as the tomatillo—and like the tomatillo—the cherries keep very well in the husk. The taste is difficult to describe. I’ll try, though: tart, yet mellow like a banana, with a mixture of a tomato and pineapple. The LaCrosse Tribune is the best source of recipes for ground cherries I’ve found. And it turns out ground cherries are in the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste: “a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction.”
They produced all summer long and I used them up for several sweet treats.