Ground Cherries

by Susan on August 17, 2011

“Ping me when you are up!” The email was sitting at the top of my in-box from my friend, Susan Berkson, the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market queen. She hosts a weekly radio show called “Fresh and Local” and is all about the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. I jumped on video chat and was enthusiastically greeted with, “Ground cherries are in at the market. We have to go right now!”

I have had similar experiences with other people. It seems there is a huge romantic love of ground cherries, mostly stemming from childhood memories of picking and eating them. My introduction to ground cherries came later in life. Looking like little Chinese lanterns, and tasting somewhere between tart and sweet, I picked some up last year but had no idea what to do. This year, after a few tastes, I knew exactly what I was going to do!

Ground Cherries or Physalis, are actually more similar to tomatoes than cherries. But the taste is distinctly different. Some say they taste like a cross between a tomato and a pineapple, others detect strawberry notes. What I can tell you is the taste is very refreshing. Ground cherries often end up in pies and jams or are just eaten raw.

When I tasted the ground cherries, the first thing that came to mind was what a beautiful vinaigrette they would make. I have also heard of people using them to make salsa, and had quite a lot of success with that recipe, too. Today, I give you the vinaigrette recipe! This salad turns into a whole raw food meal with the addition of jicama and pumpkin seeds.

 Ground Cherry Salad with Jicama, Pumpkin Seeds and Ground Cherry Vinaigrette 

Ground Cherry Vinaigrette 

  • 1 cup ground cherries
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

1. Place ground cherries, red wine vinegar and agave in blender. Blend until smooth. 

2. With blender running, slowly pour olive oil into mixture. It will emulsify (thicken). 

3. Remove from blender and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Salad:

  • 4 cups lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup ground cherries
  • 1 cup jicama, cubed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss. 

2. Top with vinaigrette to taste

Serves 4

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mellissa August 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Those cherries have always scared me a bit but that salad looks amazing! Anything with jicama and pumpkin seeds and I am sold.

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Judith August 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Sounds amazing, Susan! I’m going on the hunt for ground cherries now! :-)

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Ela August 18, 2011 at 6:10 am

That is a lovely recipe. I love those berries. And find a lot of inspiration here on your pages. Best wishes from Elri, Oslo, Norway

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Barb August 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

oh yum! another winner- thanks.

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Ida August 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

I had these recently in a friend’s garden, but she called them “gooseberries”. I will send her this email.

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Mary Turtle August 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

OMG! That looks sooooo good! You are truly a wizard!

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Laura August 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I have never seen those at our farmer’s markets in California but now I’m going to be on the look out! Thanks for another delectable recipe.

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Amy Oscar August 21, 2011 at 6:44 am

Amazing. I clicked on this recipe thinking I was going to be working with cherries, ground up in a food processor. I’ve never heard of ‘ground cherries’ but I’m going to go look for them now. :)

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Minneapolis Farmers Market August 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Our Communications Director made this for dinner and called it “Fabulous”!

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Andrea August 24, 2011 at 1:46 am

Hi Susan
I also never heard of ground cherries. I doubt that I would find them here. Thanks for the recipe.

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Le-Anne May 2, 2013 at 2:56 am

In Australia, these are called Cape Gooseberries…..ours never make it inside because we (the kids and the dog included) eat them straight off the bush! Delicious!

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Susan May 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

Le-Anne, They are tasty little buggers, aren’t they! I have no idea if we get them in the Bay area.

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