Farmers’ Market Find: Ground Cherries

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This year, we decided to skip the weekly CSA box. While I love everything a CSA stands for and loved getting fresh, organic foods, there are a few reasons why we decided to take the year off.

  1. The price went up. Now, the CSA wasn’t a bad deal to begin with, but you’ll see why it doesn’t make sense for us in the next point.
  2. The shares are too big. We split our share with a friend last year and it was still too much food. Some of the food went uneaten and spoiled. I did, however, like the challenge of trying to use everything up by the week’s end.
  3. The smaller shares they offered last year were not available this year. I may have considered that option otherwise.
  4. We didn’t always like everything that came in the box. Although I loved to try new-to-me produce!
  5. We can walk to our local Farmers’ Market!
  6. Our Farmers’ Market is a Division of the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, which means that everything sold must be local – within a limited radius of St. Paul, MN.

So every Saturday this summer, we’ve been walking to our local Farmers’ Market.  {Although, with Rob’s knee injury we had to drive last weekend. I may be walking down by myself for a few weeks.}

What’s great about the Farmers’ Market is that we can select what we know we like and will be able to eat that week. Last weekend, we bought:

  • Mixed Greens
  • Cucumbers (for me!)
  • Tomatoes (for me!)
  • Chinese Broccoli {I had intended to  attempt to make Pad See-Iew.}
  • Sweet Corn
  • Onions
  • Green Onions
  • And these beautiful radishes!
Radishes

Aren’t they gorgeous?

Rob doesn’t like radishes. But I sliced them up and put them on my salads all week. I love their color, crunch and slightly bracing zest of flavor. How much did they cost? $1. And only half of them are shown here.

We also discovered something new…

Ground Cherries

Ground Cherries!

I asked what they were and I was encouraged to try a sample. The woman described them as like a tomato, but sweeter. She opened the husk and showed me that the fruit inside. I took a bite. Wow! I wasn’t sure what to think. They were so… different.

She said that they can be eaten raw, are often added to salads and are great for making salsa. I bought some. And I even made Rob try one when we got home. He was apprehensive because he is not a fan of raw tomatoes. But they don’t exactly taste like tomatoes. Sure, they remind you of a tomato once you pop the fruit from the husk. And the husk itself, surrounding the fruit, is reminiscent of that of a tomatillo.

Ground Cherries 3

But when you take a bite, the flavor is unique. And the texture is a bit different, too. Just check out the middle:

Ground Cherries 2

I put them in the fridge when I got home and kind of forgot about them. When I found them later in the week, I sat down and ate almost the whole bag as a snack – only about 74 calories for a whole cup! They are a fruit that you can’t eat too fast, because you have to peel the husk off of each one before popping it into your mouth. That way, you eat them more slowly.

Yesterday, I had them in a salad. {Husks removed beforehand, of course!} They were the perfect addition in terms of flavor. The only trouble I had was stabbing them with my fork. One even popped right out of my bowl. Those little suckers. Get into my belly already!

I also read that they are a good cereal topper like so many other fruits. So I added a few to my granola and milk yesterday morning as well. They complemented each other well in terms of texture and flavor. I’ve also seen recipes for pies and cupcakes using ground cherries. I’ve even seen a picture of them chocolate-dipped!

So what do they taste like?

Some websites I’ve read describe them as tasting like a pineapple or a strawberry. Uh, no, not really. And those aren’t even similar fruits, so I found that to be a weird descriptor. I think you are going to just have to give them a try for yourself!

Oh. And Rob even liked them!

I am going to make it a point to try to get something new at each Farmers’ Market we visit. You know how I love to do that!

What produce have you recently tried for the first time?

Cheers~
Carrie

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4 responses »

  1. All of your reasons are why I quit doing a CSA. Especially for us in the midwest, it took a long time to get some “real” produce so I spent $25 a week for a month and all I got were carrot “bites” and kholrabi and eggs – as much as I tried, I never ended up liking kholrabi, and then I’d drive by the farmers market and I’d say “I could have bought so much for that $25!”

    Happy Friday Carrie!

  2. I love my CSA, but I haven’t met a vegetable I don’t like and it appears that Ina is the same way. 🙂 If I had the time / convenience of a farmer’s market I would probably go, but the CSA forces me to cook with fresh veggies on the reg.

    Thank you so much for introducing me to a new find! I want to try them now!

  3. I actually just had my first ground cherry in Europe! I have heard about them for years but had never seen one until recently. Your description is perfect.

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