Wednesday, September 4, 2013

harvest 2013: ground cherry jam

Last year - or was it two years ago? - was the first time I'd ever heard of a ground cherry. What's a ground cherry, you ask? Well, it looks kind of like a small tomatillo plant as it grows; the cherry-tomato-sized fruits develop in green papery husks and are ready to harvest when they fall to the ground. They will last longer if you leave them in their husks, so don't peel off the husk until you're ready to eat! They range in colour from pale yellow to deeper orange and taste rather like pineapple. I've read that one shouldn't eat too many of them raw, as this can cause indigestion, but I haven't tested this and don't really know that it's true (some folks claim that they grew up eating them raw, by the handful, and never had a problem; I wonder if all those upset stomachs may have simply been caused by ingesting a large amount of a new food?) Anyhow, most sites recommend making pies or jellies out of them - which is, obviously, the route I chose.

Sadly, I didn't get more than this one little jar because I planted my ground cherry in a pot and grew it on my deck. It's hotter there, but I think it was a little stunted - and I never did plant a bunch of other ground cherries, as I'd planned this year. Oh well! Next year! (The gardener's eternal refrain, no?)

But this little jar is full of lemony pineapple goodness, though maybe a little sweet for my taste (Cass will love it). I think I'll open it right at the start of December or maybe even January, and bake some nice warm scones one morning. We can split them open and slather them, steaming hot, with butter and a bit of this jam and won't that be a sunshiney pick-me-up during the dark grey months of the year?

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