What is a ground cherry? Ground cherries are blueberry sized fruit that have a flavor I would describe as a pineapple flavored tomato with a hint of vanilla. How does that sound?
Ground Cherries are often compared to a tomato I think the only similarity between the two is the same timing of planting – after all danger of frost has past. The first year we planted them we thought they would grow with our tomatoes in our string weave system. We have also tried to cage them. We eventually discovered that ground cherries prefer to sprawl across the ground rather than be caged or staked like a tomato.
Harvesting Ground Cherries is pretty simple. When they are ripe they fall off the plant. No picking fruit off the plant. We lift the branches and gather the ripened fruit from the ground. This year we grew our ground cherries in our garden that we straw mulch. It has been a bit slower at harvesting them this year picking through the straw. I recommend using weed mat as a mulch for these guys – it makes harvest a flash.
The ripe fruit falls to off the plant and are harvested from the ground
Ground cherries grow in a papery husk concealing the fruit. Pop them out of their husk with a gentle pinch. A ripe ground cherry with feel slightly soft when pinching it out of the husk. Goldie Ground Cherry will have a golden yellow color and look slightly translucent when it is perfectly ripe.
We like to make ground cherry jam. If making jam isn’t your thing try slicing or smash them up and add to a bowl of vanilla ice cream. You can also treat it as a sweetener to tomato recipes.
I don’t know about where you are, but here in Pennsylvania, autumn came trouncing in on a very chilly rain and seems to have decided to stay. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to roll out the welcome mat for sweater-weather and the golden hues of a sun low in the sky. But this particular autumn isn’t so well behaved so far – it’s cold and rainy and leaves little room for those wonderful culinary creations that shine as bridges between the bounty of summer and the selectiveness of fall.
I was looking forward to offering up this recipe for bright fresh ground cherry and tomato salsaas a tasty way to take advantage of those last sweet little tomatoes and tomato-counterparts still left on the vine. But now, with this drastic change in the weather, you may very well be only in the mood for soups and…
Simple and delicious this recipe is our modified version of the Simple Recipes – Potato Leek Soup. It takes less than 20 minutes to prep & about 40 minutes to cook. Serves 4-6.
2 Tbsp butter
3 cloves minced garlic
4 cups broth (we used our duck broth, yummy!)
2 pounds potatoes (we used this weeks CSA potatoes: Dark Red Norland & Elba)
1 ½ tsp salt plus more to taste
1 tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tomatoes (or corn – see variations)
½ cup half and half or whole milk
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Slice white and light green parts of leeks crosswise. Add leeks and minced garlic to melted butter in a 4 quart pot. Cook leeks until softened. Make sure it is low enough heat that the leeks aren’t browning.
After leeks are cooked add broth. Dice potatoes into ½ inch pieces and add to pot. Next add salt, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf to pot. Increase heat and bring to a simmer.
Lower the heat and maintain a low simmer for 20 minutes.
Once potatoes are cooked through remove bay leaf. Blend about half of the soup with a blender and add back to pot.
Chop tomatoes and add to pot. Add half and half, and parsley. Cook a few more minutes. Add freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
Add corn with tomatoes or as a substitute.
Add cheese to top – we used a sharp cheddar.
Add Tabasco sauce or other red chili sauce to taste.
Making basil cubes is an easy way to preserve fresh basil. The cubes are good for adding to sauces, soups or stews in the winter. You can also use basil cubes to make pesto. Here is how to make the cube:
> Remove leaves from the stem. Wash and dry or spin the leaves.
> Use a food processor to puree the basil leaves adding olive oil to make a paste. It’s about 1 tablespoon olive oil to 1 cup of basil – it doesn’t have to be exact.
> Transfer the basil mixture to an ice cube tray or small container & freeze. Once frozen remove from tray and store it in a resealable plastic bag or freezer-safe container.
A note about the ice cube tray – depending on the type of plastic it can stain the tray so you may need to have a designated herb cube tray. You can also use this method for other herbs such as cilantro, chives, mint or tarragon.
Just made this delicious recipe for supper. Super easy and ready in under 45 minutes, including prep time. We added a side of fresh green beans (oven roasted with olive oil and sliced pecans). Start the beans with the chicken and do not cover. Serve the chicken on the romaine.
We will have fresh chicken available next week. Place your order now.
Believe it or not when our farmer in training comes in from playing …errr.. caring for the chickens and she sees beets being prepared for dinner she says “Yummy Beets!”.
If the thought of beets makes you plug your nose and put it down the hatch try one of these receipes – you might change your mind & even hear “Yummy Beets!”.
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 lb. cooked beets (or 2 cans sliced beets)
2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, slice and separated into rings
In a saucepan blend honey, vinegar & 2 tbsp. beet liquid. Add butter, beets and onion rings. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook as onion rings should remain crisp.
Makes 8 servings. Taken from a Farmhouse Cookbook.
1 can pineapple chunks
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
4 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1 lb. cooked beets (or 2 cans sliced beets, drained)
Drain pineapple and mix with water and vinegar. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, salt and ginger; add vinegar mixture. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add beets, then heat to boilinbg. Just before serving, mix pineapple into hot mixture.
Makes 8 servings. Taken from a Farmhouse Cookbook.
Fresh beets can be boiled, roasted, microwaved, sauteed, steamed or charcoal roasted.
Wash the beets and trim off greens. Reserve greens for another use.
Place trimmed beets in a roasting pan and add a little water for steam. Roast the beets at 425 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes (cover the pan with foil) or until the beets are easily pierced with a knife. Slip off the skins under running water and slice or dice.
If boiling, cook the beets for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender.
If using a microwave oven, cook the beets with a little water for 8 to 15 minutes.
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. sausage cut into 1 inch slices (turkey, chicken or pork) or tofu
2 garlic cloves, minced
20 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt & pepper
Heat pan over medium heat with oil. Add and cook sausage and garlic. Add spinach, juice from lemon and zest from lemon, and chicken stock. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Toss spinach halfway through cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Can be served over rice.