Expanding our food sources and flavors can be the difference between feeding our planet or running out of food. That being said, I’m always hesitant to try something new if it’s been genetically modified. Recently, Howard Hughes Medical Institute announced its effort to edit the genes of ground cherries in order to prepare them for ‘mainstream farming’.
Ground cherries are an amazing fruit! They grow on stalks kind of like beans but their fruits are enclosed in husks just like the tomatillo. When the fruit is ripe, it falls to the ground and makes harvesting really simple. Why this plant is in need of modification is unknown, but my personal opinion is that it is unnecessary. The fruits are easy to grow and taste delicious as a jam. Think ground cherry jam, cream cheese, and crackers… the perfect fall snack! The cherries taste like honey when reduced down and I’m sure could even be used in the same manner.
We didn’t plant them this year due to space and time constraints but we have in the past and it is the one thing we are all missing this year. If organic ground cherries become as popular as strawberries, there are so many enjoyable options to prepare them!
If you’re interested in trying these hidden gems, I highly recommend ordering seeds from Baker Creek. We specifically purchased the Aunt Mollys Ground Cherry variety due to it being the only heirloom variety offered. Grow it once and it’ll become a staple in your garden!
If you’re looking for a great recipe for all the fruit you collect, this jam recipe from At The Immigrants Table has been our favorite! The combination of ginger and star anise is amazing!