Ground Cherry Salsa

If you’re fortunate enough to have a rather large farmers market nearby, you’re likely to come across some relatively rare fruits and vegetables not found in your corner grocery. For me, ground cherries would fall into that category. Also called husk tomatoes, these little fruit will remind you of small sungold cherry tomatoes, except that they wear a thin paper husk, much like their distant cousins, tomatillos. It is their flavor, however, that sets them apart. Oddly enough, they taste like a combination of pineapple and tomato. It is an even mix with neither flavor so strong as to be dominant.

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Ground Cherries 1

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I had seen these beauties for years at my farmers market and even asked the vendors about them. Why it took me so long to purchase them is anyone’s guess. I’m just glad that I finally did.

Once husked and rinsed, they can be used to make a salsa, like today’s recipe, or cooked to make jam (that recipe is forthcoming). They can also be placed in a single layer on baking sheets and placed in a freezer. Once frozen, they can be packed and kept in the freezer until ready for use. (See Notes) I’ve seen recipes for pies but most combine the fruit with berries and I fear that the additions would overpower these cherries. The fact is that I’m fascinated by the mix of pineapple and tomato flavors and don’t care to do anything to them that might eliminate that contrast.

Like any salsa, the ingredients can vary depending upon your personal preference. For today’s recipe, the cherry tomatoes came from my garden and I shopped for the rest of the ingredients in my fridge’s vegetable crisper. I had planned to use a bit of cucumber but, failing to find one, I used celery instead. Where most would use cilantro, I used parsley. I “borrowed” one of Lucy’s green jalapeños and used red onion simply for its color. As you can see, this salsa is a very colorful one.

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Ground Cherry Salsa

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Ground Cherry Salsa Recipe

Ingredients

  • about 2 doz ground cherries, hulled & rinsed with some halved
  • about 1 doz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeños, diced
  • 2 tbs red onion, diced
  • 2 tbs celery, diced
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped — cilantro may be substituted
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lime, more to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place the ground cherries, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, and parsley into a bowl. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Add the lime juice and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Taste to see if additional lime juice, salt, or pepper are needed.
  4. Serve.

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Salsa Served

Served with grilled monkfish

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Notes

Hulk cherries are an American fruit that are available from mid-July to the first frost. When fully ripe, they range in color from yellow to orange. Green husk cherries should be avoided because they may cause stomach upset.

From experience, I’ve noticed that ground cherries, once frozen and thawed, are more soft than when fresh. They are fine when used to make jam but you may not want to use them in today’s salsa recipe. I think they would be fine, however, in a salsa used for dipping chips.

The ingredient amounts can be adjusted depending upon how the salsa is served. Since I used this to accompany a fish entrée, I made a relatively small amount.

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A scheduling change …

I will be leaving early next week to ferry a very important visitor from her manse in Michigan to my humble Chicago home. As a result, the kitchens will be closed for the next 2 weeks so that I may tend to her every whim whilst she’s here.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Borlotti/Cranberry Beans

With temperatures falling, it’s time to start cooking comfort foods. One of our favorites and one that I make for Zia every year is Pasta and Beans Soup, Pasta e Fagioli. Easy to make, this soup is the very definition of comfort. Best of all, if you’re as lucky as I was just last weekend, you can still find fresh Borlotti/cranberry beans at your local farmers market. The recipe for this traditional Italian dish can be found by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Pickle Preview

A Summer Pickle (Served with Grilled Pork Chops)

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91 thoughts on “Ground Cherry Salsa

  1. Bonjourno John! We get these very sweet Malaysian tomatoes here in Hong Kong and that is the closest thing to your fruit that I can find in this part of the world. Love these simple flavors so nice with a mild fish. I am chuckling as my husband asked if we could have burgers with DILL PICKLES… seriously those are a rare commodity and difficult to find here in Hong Kong. Are your pickles sweet or savoury? I guess I will have to wait to find out. Enjoy your visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buongiorno, BAM. The hint of pineapple really makes these cherries special. It’s so unexpected. Compared to a dill pickle, this one is a tad sweet. I’ve never had luck making dills. Funny you should ask because I’ve been thinking of trying to make them again.Right now, though, I’ve got a fridge full of this pickle and a few kinds of peppers canned and stored away, not to mention some green tomato relish. Maybe dill pickles should be postponed a little while longer. How much vinegar can one person eat? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We call them gooseberries and I believe they grow very well in our area – they are so pretty, think I shall have to grow some. You can come and harvest any time John. Wouldn’t that be fun!
    Have a wonderful day and love to Max.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never thought of myself as a migrant worker, Mandy but, then again, I never thought I’d be an author. Life is all about expanding horizons, so, plant those seeds and I’ll be there for the harvest.
      Max is snoring behind me. I’ll pass along your well wishes when he wakes up for his breakfast. What a life! You, too, have a wonderful week,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I could find those here, but they are probably harder to find than tomatillos. Perhaps I’ll find some in Spain…
    I think freezing bursts something inside fruits. They say don’t pick sloes until the first frost, though sloes are often ripe before it gets cold and therefore people freeze them to get the same effect.
    I hope you have a good trip/visit with Zia 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mad. Tanya thinks that they’re called chinese gooseberries and I’ve heard them called cape gooseberries. I bet they’re all related. Never knew that about sloes. I’ve heard that brussels sprouts are better following cold weather, too, though I’ve not heard of anyone doing anything to help Mother Nature a;long. Then again, it’s not like I’ve gone looking for helpful hints on raising brussels sprouts. 🙂

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  4. Ooh I think we call them chinese gooseberries but am not 100% sure! Looks so pretty and I bet it tastes very fresh and delicious 🙂 Safe travels with ZIa, she is indeed a very precious person so I know you will transport her with very great care!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely fresh dish. I remember watching Chopped on the Food Network calling these gooseberries and thinking they are getting their ingredients wrong! I did find out after sometimes these are called caped gooseberries. Still quite different from gooseberries though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Funny – as I was reading I thought “this would be really nice with a piece of fish!” And then you did it. Not familiar with this fruit – Will have to look them up. Do you know if they are perennial? Might make an interesting addition to the garden if they can grow here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Dave. I’m not certain if they’re perennial but they’re often found growing wild in farmers’ fields. Each fruit is packed with seeds, so, they may self-seed year after year. They grow throughout this region. I buy them at the Evanston farmers market. There are 2 vendors, that I know of, that sell them. I’ll admit it. I’m smitten. 🙂

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  7. You’re right — farmer’s markets are about the only place I ever see ground cherries. And not nearly often enough, alas. I love fruit salsas! Tomato salsa is my standard, of course, but fruit ones are much better. Hope the next two weeks are wonderful! Thanks for a terrific recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In these parts, these make their appearance towards the end of July and remain available right up until frost. They’ve got such a unique combo of flavors/. I fell in love with ’em at first bite. Thanks for the well wishes. See you in 2 weeks.

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  8. I’ve always known these as “Peruvian Cherries”, but it turns out they have many other names, including “amour en cage”, as the French call it… 🙂

    Salsa is no doubt a great way for using them. I’ve also often used them as a decoration for desserts, partially dipped in chocolate (husk open and still on). Very pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another country heard from! This time, Peru. Thus far, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa, Italy, and Finland have all joined the conversation. (Cape) gooseberries seems to be a favorite. No matter. Just call them tasty. Your idea of serving them dipped in chocolate sounds really good, Ronit. Again, it’s an unusual combo of flavors. Would love to see your dinner guests’ expressions when they try their first one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We love ground cherries! We first started growing them many years ago and ever since they pop up all over the garden every year, so many that we pull them like weeds! The boys love to eat them right out of the husk while playing outside. One year we even made a ground cherry pie which was delicious. This salsa looks incredible. For anyone with kids you may remember reading about ground cherries in a Miss Spider book or on the Miss Spider television series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so gad you commented, Gretchen. I asked the vendor about using them in a pie and she advised against it. She felt they were only good if baked with berries. I didn’t like that idea, thinking that the berries would overpower the unique flavors of these cherries. I won’t have time now to bake a pie and the markets close in 2 weeks. I hope I remember to ask you about them next year. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Angeline. I smiled when I read your thanks for the widget. I, too, thought that was so handy. It wasn’t long before it became too handy and my Pinterest library became as full as all of my other recipe collections. It is better, however, than trying to maintain a thousand or so bookmarks. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Diane. These little fruit will not jump out at you at the market. They’re small and wrapped in beige-colored lanterns. Sitting in quart containers, most will walk past them to look at the more colorful peaches, plums, etc. Keep an eye out for the, though. They’re great!

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    • Exactly, Ruth! I tasted one and immediately thought salsa and fish. Luckily, my fishmonger was having a sale on clams. When I got there, I saw that monkfish was on sale, too. The rest is salsa-blogging history. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • My car has been acting up lately, EllaDee. Running to a grocery hasn’t always been possible. Crisper shopping has been one but not the only venue. I’ve also been fridge and freezer shopping. Luckily, I have 2 freezers so I’ve got twice the inventory of a single freezer household. 😉

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    • No need to apologize, Jasline. I’ve been away for the better part of the year and now I’m going away again. We all have lives outside of the blogosphere — at least I hope so. 😉

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  10. Hi John!
    First of all, I wish you and Zia a great time together. As she is visiting you this time around, maybe we can finally set up that Skype session? It would be great to chat with her in Italian 🙂
    When I first saw the title of this post, I thought “grinding cherries, that’s weird”, because I had never heard of the name “ground cherries” before. In the Netherlands they are mostly known because some restaurants use them (too often, i.e. on each and every dish) as a garnish. This has put me off them, which is a bit silly as they do have a nice flavor. I like your description of their flavor as a cross between pineapple and tomato. I also like the salsa recipe and I bet it would also be great with pork.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Stefan. I will keep your Skype offer in mind when she’s here. I’ll send you an email with her decision. And, trust me, it will be her decision. 😉
      Others have said that they use them as garnish, too. I can see that but it seems a poor use of such a flavorful fruit. In fact, I had a rough time with the salsa. I kept snacking on the cherries and tomatoes while taking the photos. They’re a little bit addictive — at least for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. i’ve never seen these ground cherries before! At first I thought they were just the little yellow gems that are so plentiful, but as you described them, I do see the difference. I’m disappointed to think they may not be available as that salsa looks fantastic. I will be glad to make the pasta and cranberry bean soup, though. That sounds wonderful, and I can get the beans! I know you’ll enjoy the next two weeks with your special visitor. And so will she, no doubt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know that these “cherries” are widespread but don’t know if they made it across the Rockies. Damn that Continental Divide!! YOU will love them if you do find them. Guaranteed.
      I do hope you make this soup. It is one of our favorites, Debra. In fact, I already bought and shelled the beans for a big pot when ZIa gets here. I’ll carry a few quarts with her when I return her home. It is such a great meal on any of the cold days ahead and so easy to prepare. You’ll see.

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  12. I haven’t seen the ground cherries in quite some time, but I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled so that I can make this lovely salsa. Your colours are so fresh and vibrant. Did I detect a little cilantro hate? I understand that some think it tastes like soap though that’s not me, I love the stuff.
    I’m so glad Zia has decided to come back with you, you’re so generous to chauffeur her such a long distance. I can’t wait to see what delicacies you whip up for her. That pasta and bean soup is one of my favourites running a very close second to Italian Wedding Soup (I full admit I make it all the time and not just for weddings!)
    Hope you and Zia have a wonderful time. Safe journey back and forth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once I tasted a cherry, I immediately thought of salsa. They’e such an interesting blend of flavors and cilantro would have RUINED it. 😉
      Yeah, just a little bit of cilantro hate but I keep it pretty well hidden. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried it but, always, soap. I just cannot get passed it.
      You know, I’ve never made wedding soup. It’s just not in the Bartolini bag of tricks. It’s not in the Amici bag either which makes me think it’s from a region more to the south. That’s OK. We do love our Pasta e Fagioli. I’ve already shelled, blanched, and froze the beans. I’ve a number of meals planned. It will all depend upon what she prefers — of course. We’ll have fun and Max will be in heaven. She makes sure he gets his fair share of treats and he worships her. 🙂

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  13. Zia in Chicago! I’m sure you have lots planned, but if you have a free afternoon while she’s here I would love to treat you both to lunch. 🙂 I love this salsa recipe and bet it’s fantastic with almost anything! I would especially love this on chips. I’ve never seen ground cherries before, or maybe I have and just didn’t realize what I was looking at! I’m going to have to pay more attention at our farmer’s market. 😉 Safe travels this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. She’s coming, all right! Well, at least she was the last time we talked. One never knows … 😉
      You may walk right past these ‘”cherries”, Kristy. They’re small and pretty nondescript wrapped in their beige lanterns. They don’t stand out like berries or peaches or plums. I bet you and the gang would come up with some tasty ways to use them. I’m all ears! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, John! Just today I’ve found out that you are back to your blog! I was waiting and waiting for an email to come as I subscribed some time ago. It did not work seemingly. So I’ll try again.
    Glad now to be part of your blog and posts. I think I have to catch up a lot of what I’ve missed since you are back… Have a great Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • PS – Just have read the comments. Want to participate. Here in Germany ground cherries are called Cape gooseberries too, due to being supposed of being originated from South Africa, Cape Town (or Kapstadt as we say, therefore Kap-Stachelbeere – sorry, maybe that sentence is no good English at all). They’re also known as Physalis too here. In former times they’ve been sold in the supermarkets in very tiny green plastic baskets, just a handful of fruits. Kind of jewelry. And always well hidden and well protected in their papery orange colored husk. And yes, we handle(d) them as a fruit – for desserts, fruit salads, tarts, cakes especially cheese cakes… All sweet stuff. And, as Tasty Eats already mentioned, as a decoration, dipped in chocolate, what shows a very nice colour combination… Never heard of using them in a savory in a hearty way before. Great idea though. – Love the French name “amour en cage”, too..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Judging by the consensus, cape gooseberries it is! Here in the US, we have another gooseberry which, having no paper shell, is nothing like these. Our ground cherries are said to have originated in South or Central America. It sounds to me, though, that our cherries and your gooseberries are related somehow. We need a botanist! I do agree. The French name is the best.

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        • Oh yes, the pale green gooseberries are known here too. I never will understand why they gave that name to that fruit – cape/Kap to and fro. Both have nothing to do with each other (same way with ground cherry in my opinion). So you’re right, in an international context we should give the botanists their turn, and that means Physalis. – Nevertheless your recipe, your salsa is great!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Irmi. So nice to meet you, I did finally respond to your comment.(So sorry for the delay.) It is in the Welcome page, at the very bottom of the Comments section. Here’s the link: https://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/about/#comment-55537

      Now, i’m off again. I’m leaving to pick up ZIa and carry her back here for a visit. I’ll then return her home whenever she’s ready. It should be a fun time — plenty of cooking! 🙂

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    • Thank you for the well wishes. Good to “see” you again. I’ve been away — and now I;m going away again! Aren’t these cherries/gooseberries tasty? I never would have put pineapple and tomato together but they work in these little fruit.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes I think these are growing in the field, i thought they were tomatillos. I shall pick some and come back to compare them with your photos, i don’t want to serve the ones that will give me a tummy upset.. much love.. c

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    • Yes, one of the descriptions I read spoke of these growing in fields. They are quite tasty, though, and I bet some naughty pig might be quite taken by the taste. The green ones may not give everyone an upset stomach but why take the chance? I’ll be interested to learn what you think of them.

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    • Hello, Norma. Good to see you again. I’ve been away so long and now I’m heading off again! From what I’ve been told, these plants can overrun a garden. Perhaps they felt they were too much trouble to control?

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    • Welcome! Ground cherries taste mildly like a combination of pineapple and tomato, of all things. They’re unique and I just learned this past Saturday that there is more than one variety available in this area. The larger is a bit more tart than the ones I’ve used here. In some parts of Europe and South Africa they are also called Cape gooseberries. I do not know if they are available in Dubai.

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  16. I just had ground cherries for the first time when I was in the Okanagan Valley in September. These were on oatmeal, so were definitely leaning toward the fruity side of things. They certainly seem versatile, given you’ve put them to such good use with tomatoes and other vegetables. Please give my best wishes to Zia — I hope you have a wonderful visit together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just saw them again this past weekend, Mar, but these were a different variety — a bit more orange, larger, and supposed to be a bit more tart. Zia’s got a salsa in her future.
      I’ll be sure to mention you to her. You’re our “neighbor on the other side of the lake.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I found these at our farmer’s market and was so intrigued by them. What a great idea to make salsa out of them John. They remind me of tomatillo’s but, like you said a pineapple flavor about them. Part of the nightshade family…right? What a deliciously fresh looking salsa.

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    • I think we both shared the same reaction when we first saw these. I used them in another salsa for Zia last week. Instead of tomatoes, I used chopped kiwi fruit to give the salsa an even more tropical feel. Yes, they are a part of the nightshade family, as are tomatillos and tomatoes.

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    • So glad you like it. I recently made another, though this time I replaced the cherry tomatoes with kiwi fruit. Too bad I discovered them so late in the season. I cannot wait till next summer when these “cherries” return.

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  18. CJ, you are back! I didn’t realize it. I just discovered those cute little tomatoes at our local farmer’s market last year and again this year. Love to pop them in my mouth and would never have them around long enough to make anything as your delicious-looking salsa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Kathleen! You sound just like Zia and cherry tomatoes. I brought her some when I last visited her and she couldn’t resist them. I have to admit that I did eat more than a few of these “cherries” when I made the salsa. How could I not? 🙂

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  19. Pingback: The Visitation of 2015 | from the Bartolini kitchens

  20. Pingback: Ground Cherry Jam | from the Bartolini kitchens

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