2 acre farm: Bringing Back Ground Cherries

2 acre farm

The experiences, trials, and lives on a small farm in rural Illinois.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bringing Back Ground Cherries

As many of our market customers have discovered, we at 2 Acre Farm enjoy growing unusual and unique produce, such as Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries. Have you heard of them? We hadn't, or at least not until we ordered the seed. We knew it would be a gamble to plant them in the first place, seeing as we had no idea what they would taste like (with the exception of the seed description, which can sometimes be deceiving) or how adventurous the market goers would be (which proved to be a valid concern. Since introducing them only two people at the market, thus far, have even known what they are). From the start we had an idea that we would need to educate our customers on eating and using them. Which we did... and of course it doesn't hurt to give out samples. So for the past few weeks we have been doing this and to our delight they are catching on.

It has been very exciting to create a sort of mini market for such an obscure but wonderful fruit. What also makes this exciting is their placement on Slow Food USA’s endangered foods list called “Ark of Taste”. So we have gotten a real sense of accomplishment by helping preserve a piece of agriculture.

Of course I can’t mention our ground cherries without talking about what they are used for.
First it must be understood that their best quality is their ability to be eaten raw as is (well without the husk of course), in salads like cherry tomatoes, in fruit salads, or any other way you can dream up. Since they have high pectin content they are an excellent candidate for jams, jellies, pies, and tarts. They are also used as a substitute for mango or pineapple in sweet salsa. Search the internet and you will find plenty of recipes. By the way...these little gems only contain 72 calories per cup and are full of vitamins!

Pictured: (left) Once the Ground Cherries turn a yellowish color they are ready to pick. If they aren't picked in time the huskes will preserve the fruit as they lay on the ground, even becoming sweeter as the husk dries. (right) A Ground Cherry pie baked by Aimee's grandmother, aka "Momadee".



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to purchase a pint of these

July 19, 2010 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Stevie from GardenTherapy.ca said...

I love ground cherries - they are so good for you!!

July 20, 2010 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Nathan (2af) said...

Anonymous - I second this proposal.

Stevie - Agreed. They are apparently quite heavy in vitamins and minerals.

July 22, 2010 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Ty'sMommy said...

I bought two pints at the farmers market in Carlinville saturday and I love them. Will you have more this week? I think I want to make a batch of jam. If you're going to be at the market wednesday or saturday, please let me know and I'll stop by and pick some up! I'd love about 6 pints if you have them.

August 23, 2010 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Nathan (2af) said...

Ty's Mommy- It's been awhile, but Aimee and I were wondering how your jam turned out? We still have a few jars left here, but they've been going pretty quickly!

November 12, 2010 at 12:16 AM  

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