Here’s some advice for you all: when you are offered fresh produce at the market to sample, you accept.
This is how I serendipitously fell in love with groundcherries. Thanks also to the amazingly helpful and friendly staff at the Green Acres Farm’s stand (Green City Market).
Part of the nightshade family (made up of around 2000 different species – from potatoes to tomatoes and tomatillos to eggplant), groundcherries have a husk like a tomatillo but are tiny little things. When you open them up (they’re like mini presents!), there is a small, tomato-looking fruit inside. It tastes like a combination of pineapple and tomato…in a good way. Somewhat tart but with a nice pineapple-y sweetness.
Groundcherries have a nutrient profile that resembles tomatoes. They are high in vitamins A and C like tomatoes (for a 1 cup serving), but they also contain about 3 grams of protein, which is a rarity with fruit. A one-cup serving contains roughly 75 calories. Not bad for the flavor punch, vitamins and minerals that you get.
Let’s also not forget how fun it is to peel back the husk and pop the thing in your mouth!
So what to do with groundcherries??
- Salsa: mix unwrapped/halved groundcherries, diced cucumber, tomato and pepper and toss with about 1 Tbsp vinegar of your choice (champagne or red wine would be good). You can add a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon and lime juice to perk it up a little.
- In salads: just made a salad with kale, groundcherries, tomatoes, a little mozzarella cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette – yum! The groundcherries really make a salad.
- In cereal – sprinkle over your morning cereal or even oatmeal.
- Cold grain salad: mix 1/2 cup halved groundcherries with 1 cup cooked quinoa, brown rice or other whole grain, 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar, 1 Tbsp orange juice and about 2 Tbsp each of dried fruit (currants would be good!) and chopped walnuts.
- As a snack.
One added bonus to groundcherries: they force you to eat slowwllly because you have to peel each one. It not only makes you enjoy the fruit more, but also is a fun little activity.