Remember when I told you we had planted Ground Cherries for the first time? And how I told you that none of us had ever actually tasted them. Sometimes taking a risk is a good thing, and this was definitely one of those times.
It turns out that ground cherries grow prolifically in pots (and probably about anywhere else you put them). They have the odd habit of dropping their fruit before they are ripe. That isn’t a problem, though. Those little husks around the fruit protect them and they continue to ripen on your counter, or on the ground. After a few days to a week or so, they darken to a beautiful golden color. Just peel off the husk and pop one in your mouth. It’s bite-sized heaven. They have a sweet, slightly pineapple flavor and they are wonderful.
At first, we couldn’t tell when they were ripe. We kept popping open the husks only to find a light yellow or even greenish fruit. Eventually we clued in to the husk color changes and things got easier. While the fruit is still on the plant, the husks are green. They begin to turn yellowish, and the plant drops the fruit when the husks are about the color of a manilla envelope. After the fruit drops, they continue to ripen and the husk continues to change. It begins to get a dry papery feel, and changes from the color of a manilla envelope to an ever-so-slightly pinkish brown. The change is subtle, but if you learn to see it, you’ll have a better success rate of opening a golden fruit.
I decided some of our golden fruit needed to become a golden jam. The seeds are much softer than raspberry seeds (which we leave in our jams because we’re funny that way), and they are entirely edible. I left them in the jam to provide some bulk and interest. If you can find some ground cherries, I highly recommend making a jam to brighten your morning toast.