I usually set these little gems on the end of my table at the farmers' market to get the conversation going.
What are these adorable, delicate little canary yellow gems wrapped in a Chinese lantern-esk paper?
A husk cherry! These also go by ground cherry, cape gooseberry and in French (which is my favorite), Amour en Cage, which means "caged love."
They are closely related to a tomatillo (as if you couldn't already guess that) and have their roots in South America. In other parts of the world like Austraila and New Zealand they are often made into jams or pies.
They have a very unique taste...like a tomato but sweeter.
More citrus. More pineapple. More apricot. Kind of....butterscotch.
It's like unwrapping candy.
They grow on a low sprawling plant that produces a ton of little husk cherries. They start out green and then slowly dry as the fruit ripens. They get the name "ground cherry" because you know they're ripe when they fall off the vine. We grew ours on black plastic...I didn't really like the idea of picking up my food and the food of my customers off the ground. The plastic seems to be working.
Kitchen inspiration for Husk Cherries
- Just unwrap and snack
- Jams, the husk cherries contain a high level pectin which makes them a great choice for canning
- Pies and cobblers
- Husk Cherry Upside Down Cake (ditch the pineapple and try these guys)
- A sweet salsa like peach or blueberries salsa
- Sliced and sauteed with shrimp (Thanks Michelle for this one!) The hint of citrus with the husk cherries pairs nicely with shrimp
- Make a compote, cook down unwrapped husk cherries with a little water and brown sugar...a little salt too and spread over pork before it goes in the oven