Appalachia Gardening

Ground cherries, husk tomatoes, and gooseberries in Appalachia

Ground cherries and Tipper

Do you like ground cherries? I love them! The Deer Hunter and the girls don’t care much for them, but I can’t resist eating a handful every time I’m outside when they’re ripe.

I talk about ground cherries in the video I’m sharing today.

I hope you enjoyed the video! Don’t forget to tell me if you like ground cherries or not 🙂

Tipper

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Paula
    September 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

    I like ground cherries, but I don’t seem to have a many as I used to. I think when I was growing up we had a lot of meadows and pastures around the house but now houses and yards have taken over. There is so much I miss about the days when I was growing up, and big open fields is one of those things.

  • Reply
    dana
    September 10, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I’ve never had any! Want to mail me a box? 🙂

  • Reply
    Gigi
    September 9, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    No I never did like them Tipper there’s alot around where we lve.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 9, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    There is another plant that grows in my garden which has berries similar to ground cherries. It is called a horse nettle, bull nettle or wild tomato. Someone that was ill informed might mistakenly eat them as ground cherries. They are in the nightshade family too. They sometimes have a paperlike covering over the berries similar to ground cherries. The berries also look like tiny tomatoes. If there is a question as to which one you have, look at the stem. If the stem has spines (stickers, jagers, brars) on it you have a horse nettle. The berries are poisonous!
    If someone I didn’t know and trust offered me a little yellow berry and said it was a ground cherry I would ask to see the plant it came off of. I have both plants in my garden and can easily tell them apart. But, without the plant and the paper husk I would be leary.

  • Reply
    Stacie Waters
    September 9, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve never tried ground cherries, but I’ve always wanted to. I grew up in Michigan and the Amish frequently made ground cherry pies and products but I was never brave enough to try them. Now that I live in Knoxville, I’d like to try and find some in the wild so that I can try them, or maybe even some seed? Either way I’m interested! Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Leonard “Rascal”Barnett
    September 9, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Please tell me more about Tom Landry, I have heard of him and I would like to learn more.Thank You so much Tipper

  • Reply
    Leonard “Rascal”Barnett
    September 9, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Tipper,I’m so glad you shared your story about ground cherries and I absolutely Love your accent, I miss it so much but I ago back home enough to hear it fairly often. I have never ate ground cherries and it kinda surprises me cause I thought I knew about everything that grows tame or wild out of ole Mother Earth.When I was ah kid I ate everything I could get my hands on! But I missed this one.Thank you so much Tipper for sharing your beautiful stories and information about Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 9, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Tipper,
    On the way to the field or garden, Daddy, Me and Harold, would go possum hunting almost every night. Me and Harold was always Hungry, so Daddy would take us to a place in the garden where Ground Cherries were Plentiful. We thought the things were Poison, but Daddy knew. He was the Best Daddy in the World and we thought he knew Everything.

    He’d take us to the upper end of the Big Garden where we had three Percimmon Trees. ( they was so sour, they’d make a pig squeel, before they were ripe.) They were Ripe and posseums were always in them. Daddy taught us to line-up the possums with the moon, if it was out, so we could see the sights on the gun better. If no moon, Daddy would have one of us Boys to shimmy up and knock that Ole Posseum out to the ground where the Fiests were waiting.

    It’s been many years since then, but Daddy always said ” Nothing Lasts Forever”. …Ken

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    September 9, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Hi Tipper….I have not eaten ground cherries and not familiar with them in my area which is Eastern Canada….your videos are always interesting and done so well….Thank-You for making available to us all…..Be Well….Carol

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    September 9, 2020 at 11:01 am

    I learned something new today. I have never heard of nor seen ground cherries. Thank you for the informative video.

  • Reply
    Dale Drawbond
    September 9, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Ground cherries are delicious! My mother used to have them in her garden and would always save enough to make a pie.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 9, 2020 at 9:14 am

    X2. That story about Tom Landry is so funny. I can imagine how a green ground cherry tasted. I bet he was thinking, ‘Why would anybody ever want to eat that!?’ He should have listened. If you told me something I would take it as gospel.

    Appreciate your ‘do I remember that or just made it up’ also. Increasingly I realize my memory is not reliable and I have to qualify what I say with such things as “if memory serves” or “to the best of my knowledge and belief”. I sure want to head off anybody thinking I told a deliberate lie. Anyway, that uncertainty often catches me out on your Appalachian vocabulary tests.

    By the way, I ordered and planted some plumgranny seed back in August. But some kind of fungus or something attacked and killed them just when they had begun making fruit. Killed my 2nd planting of cucumber at the same time.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 9, 2020 at 9:04 am

    I use to have some volunteers in an old garden site at a different location. It’s so over grown now I’m sure there are none left. I ordered a packet of seed from ( Sow True Seed) and plan on having some next year.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    September 9, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Mom always had a garden and that garden always had ground cherries. They were volunteers that came up randomly in the corn patch and provided great snacks as we hoed. I really don’t know how to describe their taste either. I would say they they taste fruity, more like a plum than pineapple. I ordered some seeds from a catalog about ten years ago hoping to get a start of volunteers but they only produced one year.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 9, 2020 at 8:37 am

    I have heard of ground cherries, but never seen them until your interesting video. They are a cousin of our Mexican tomatillo, which also has a “paper” husk. Tomatillos are larger than ground cherries, and are used to make delicious green salsa. I also use them in chicken stew and in the sauce for chicken enchiladas. Here in New Mexico we can buy tomatillos in the grocery store, but some folks grow them too. I don’t think they multiply like your ground cherries, but I’m not sure about that.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      September 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Ann, I seen those tomatillos in the grocery section at Walmart and wondered what in the world do you do with those things. There must have been at least one without the husk because it looked like a green tomato, way bigger than a ground cherry. Are they sweet like some ground cherries or can you fry them like fried green tomatoes?

      • Reply
        Ann Applegarth
        September 9, 2020 at 10:56 pm

        Not sweet, but similar to a green tomato. I hadn’t thought of trying them, but I think they might be good fried. For salsa, in a pan mix a pound of shucked tomatillos, a small onion (chopped), 2 cloves chopped garlic, one minced hot chile pepper, some chopped cilantro, 1 tsp. oregano, 1\2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until distilled are soft — about 15 minutes. Zap in a blender till smooth.

        • Reply
          aw griff
          September 10, 2020 at 3:31 pm

          Thanks Ann.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    September 9, 2020 at 8:15 am

    I often learn from you, Tipper, and today was no exception. I have had these ground cherries pop up as opportunists and I tried looking them up coming close with the Japanese lantern but the color was amiss so I kept wondering until today!I just think they’re pretty little plants!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 9, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Well, I have most likely posted this before, but my Grandma always had ground cherries in her garden. They would come up as volunteers and she would treat them like any other garden plant, just hoe them out. We never used them in any kind of recipe, just ate them out of hand in the field. As a boy I really liked the little golden ones. She had larger purple ones but I never liked them.

    It has been many years since I have had a ground cherry. I would like to grow some just as a memento of Grandma and childhood. I would also sure like to introduce our grandson to them to. But I don’t think even our son and daughter know about them either. Wish the birds would bring me some.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 9, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Tipper–I’m happy I was able to awaken a memory hidden away deep in the recesses of your mind. One other thing I would note about ground cherries is that they are about as flexible, when it comes to weather, as any garden item I can think of. They seem to thrive in withering heat, through drought, or during too much rain. They also keep right on producing when the rest of the garden is sort of winding down on its productivity. Right now they are pretty much all I have left other than more okra than I can give away, field peas, and a few lingering tomatoes.

    Give salsa a try, or maybe just add some ground cherries to your recipe for chowchow or piccalilly. I think you’ll like it and that may be a way to get Matt and the twins to become fans as well.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Janis Zeglen
    September 9, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Are ground Cherries a member of the night shade family? If so, I am allergic. I have always had a fascination with wild edible foods since I read my first Ewell Gibbons book. Thanks for sharing about ground cherries!

    • Reply
      Tipper
      September 9, 2020 at 7:34 am

      Janis-they are a member of the nightshade family. I know a lot of people have trouble with nightshades.

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    September 9, 2020 at 6:48 am

    I’ve never had the privilege to taste ground cherries, Tipper…..But I will look for them now….Thanks!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 9, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Tip, I’ve seen ground cherries and I’ve eaten them. I’ve never particularly liked or disliked them. The times I’ve seen there was not enough of them to do anything like make jam. Their flavor seemed rather bland.

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