Ground cherries (Physalis pruniosa) not to be confused with gooseberries (Physalis peruviana) - More to come on that in a later post; are a great addition to any garden but especially ours here in the mid south. Many of our clients have never heard of ground cherries, let alone tasted them. These seemly rare garden treats are a staple in our gardens each year due to their delicious taste and easy growth habits!
Ground cherries are native to Mexico and the southern United States, which makes them perfect for our hot humid summers. Producing through the summer each plant produces on average 2-5 pounds. Not only are they prolific producers, they have amazing taste that resembles hints of pineapple, strawberries, and tomatoes all in one. What's not to like , right?
Growing conditions: As mentioned above, we love ground cherries here in our zone 7 due to its heat loving quality. They produce best in full sun. Rich soil is not required but as with most fruiting plants it is desired.
Harvest: Another reason we love ground cherries is that they are perfect for beginner gardeners! Ground cherries take all the harvesting guess work out for you by basically letting you know they are ready to be picked when their husk turns brown and the fruit (golden yellow in color) falls from the plant. You can also give the plant a gentle shake and the ripe ground cherries will fall to the ground for you.
How to eat: Ground cherries pair well with both sweet and savory dishes. Admittedly, I consume most of mine raw like cherry tomatoes however, there are a couple good recipes I also enjoy.