Ground Cherries are in the same genus as tomatillos. The Smithsonian describes the ground cherry as a “cherry tomato injected with mango and pineapple juice and looks like an orange pearl encased in a miniature paper lantern.” I won’t even try to beat that description which is absolutely perfect.
Ground Cherries are hyper-seasonal and so they won’t be around long. Growing Hearts has a few but you best get to the market early. Their common name stems from the fact that the fruit falls to the ground when it is ripe. Some farmers call them simply, “ground tomatoes” but they are also known as husk cherries or strawberry tomatoes. They are super versatile and suitable in both savory and sweet preparations.
Here are some ideas from said Smithsonian article:
1. Puree them into a salsa verde, or chop them in into this ground cherry salsa.
2. Bake a ground cherry pie, upside-down cake, or a husk cherry and plum tart.
3. Layer halved ground cherries with fresh tomatoes and basil for an easy appetizer.
4. Make a simple salad from greens, ground cherries and goat cheese, or get a little more complex with husk cherry Waldorf salad.
5. Ground cherry jam is “easy peasy,” we hear.
Or you could buy a box and pop them all in your mouth like candy as you stroll through the market which will be part of Community Day celebrations at the train station again this year. We will be in a slightly different location but all our vendors will be there so worry not!
The sun is supposed to make an appearance on Saturday. So they say. Perhaps some ice cream is in order? Penny Lick founder and head ice-cream maker, Ellen Sledge, makes old-fashioned, custard-style ice cream and uses local ingredients whenever possible. Some of her most popular flavors include peach cobbler, blackberry mint and Nonni’s Licorice made with star anise. Where does the company name come from? Before the invention of the cone, in 19th century England, ice cream vendors, or Jacks, served ice cream up in conical glasses called “penny licks”. They hawked ice cream in ha’penny (half penny) and tu’penny (two penny) licks, too. But the standard penny lick was most popular. Customers would pay one penny for the contents of a glass then hand the empty glass back to the vendor to refill for the next customer.
Thankfully, Penny Lick Ice Cream uses sugar cones and disposable cups to serve their ice cream. To find out more check out their website.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)