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Ground Cherries

All About Ground Cherries

The ground cherry is neither a cherry nor a gooseberry. This fruit is closer to the tomato and it belongs to the same family of Solonacea plants. Ground cherries found in Quebec are called Physalis pruinosa in Latin and originate from the Eastern part of the USA.


Characteristics

The size of a cherry, the alkekengi is a red, orange or greenish-yellow berry, covered by a paper-thin brownish-orange membrane called the calyx. Ground cherries are not very juicy and taste slightly sour.


Tips and advice

  • Choose firm fruits that are orange—a sign of ripeness—wrapped in a pale brown calyx.
  • Do not remove the ground cherry’s brown calyx unless you wish to freeze the fruit.
  • To remove the calyx before eating, gently pinch near the stem, then wash.
  • The ground cherry can be eaten plain or in fruit salads. It is delicious in marmalades, jellies and pies, and makes a colourful addition to chocolate fondue.

Expert tip

The ground cherry pairs well with game or white meats, and wine or meat gravies.


Availability

In-season ground cherries can be found in markets throughout summer and fall.

Nutritional value

The ground cherry is a source of iron, niacin and vitamin A.

Storage

Keep ground cherries at room temperature to ripen them. Once ripe, cover with a cloth and refrigerate for about two days.


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