good to know
What you should know about ground cherries
Maybe you’re already familiar with this small fruit? Its scientific name is Physalis, but it’s also known as Chinese lantern or winter cherry. Sporting a bright yellow or orange hue, this gem of a fruit grows inside a protective papery husk.
Physalis are part of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes. They may not be as well known as their red cousins, but they’re gaining in popularity due to their unique flavour, a delicate combination of sweetness and acidity.
There are close to a hundred species of Physalis. It’s a versatile fruit that grows in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions around the world.
Fun fact: as groundcherries ripen, they fall to the ground — hence the name!
Groundcherries can be found in stores during the summer and fall, from August to October.
Groundcherries contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that our bodies can transform into vitamin A. They are also a good source of vitamin C, which helps us absorb iron and is known for its antioxidant effects.
Buying and storing
When selecting groundcherries, look for fruits that are fully enclosed in their husks. The drier the husk, the better the cherry.
Groundcherries can be stored in the fridge for up to two or three months. If the husks are open or damaged, they should be refrigerated and consumed within 10 days.
Here’s a tip for freezing groundcherries: place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for about two hours before transferring them to a freezer bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for several months.
Groundcherries are often used as a decorative garnish in desserts. Add them to a fruit salad or dip them in chocolate for a special treat.
They can also be baked into a crisp or clafoutis, and they make a great jam!
Groundcherries can also be substituted for green tomatoes and used in salsa, ketchup or chutney. Or combine them with cherry tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños and cilantro to create the perfect salsa for an oven-baked trout fillet.