All About Ground Cherries: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever had these delicious fruits called ground cherries? If not, they are worth trying. This year I sold ground cherries, as they are more commonly known, at my local farmer’s markets. Most people had never heard of it before. I began researching it and made a blog post about this fantastic fruit.

According to recent research, ground cherries, a lesser-known fruit, are worth trying. While many may not have heard of this fruit before, it has been gaining popularity in local farmer’s markets. A recent blogger who sold ground cherries at these markets decided to research and write about this fantastic fruit in a blog post.

Through their research, they discovered the unique taste and nutritional benefits of ground cherries. In this article, we will explore the history of ground cherries, their nutritional value, and different ways to enjoy this delicious fruit. Whether you are a seasoned fruit enthusiast or a curious foodie, this article will provide valuable information about this lesser-known fruit.

What are ground cherries?

Ground cherries, also known as Cape gooseberry, Inca berry, Aztec berry, Goldenberry, Giant ground cherry, Peruvian ground cherry, Peruvian cherry, Pok Pok, Poha, Aguaymanto, Uvilla, Uchuva, and Harankash, are small, round fruits that are closely related to the tomatillo and Chinese lantern.

They belong to the nightshade family and are distantly related to other members of the family, such as the tomato, eggplant, and potato. Ground cherries are native to South America but are now grown in many parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

They are typically eaten raw and have a sweet and tart flavor with a texture similar to that of a tomato. Ground cherries are also used in jams, pies, and other desserts.

ground cherries in basket on a beige background

What do ground cherries look like?

Ground cherries have a unique appearance that sets them apart from other fruits. They are small, round, and have a diameter of 1-2 cm. Their outer skin is a papery husk that encloses the fruit, which looks like a small orange pearl. This fruit is not related to the cherry or gooseberry family and is grown in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates all over the world.

What Ground Cherries Taste Like

Ground cherries have a sweet and slightly tart taste with an earthy undertone. They are often compared to the flavors of pineapple, strawberries, mango, or citrus fruits.

Ground Cherries Nutritions

Ground cherries are a rich source of various essential nutrients that are crucial for maintaining good health. These fruits are high in vitamins A, C, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, as well as calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, bioflavonoids, protein, and fiber.

Vitamin A is essential for vision, normal cell growth and development, and reproductive systems. It also helps the immune and inflammatory systems to work correctly. Vitamin C is essential to the immune system and acts as an antioxidant, preventing damage or death of cells. It is also a natural antihistamine and reduces the chance of stroke, while protecting against Parkinson’s disease.

Thiamin, also known as B1, helps protect the nerves, is great for mental health, and essential to metabolism, especially with carbohydrates. It also lowers the chance of cataracts. Riboflavin, also known as B2, is necessary for iron metabolism, prevents headaches/migraines, and maintains other B vitamins. Niacin, also known as B3, raises HDL (good) cholesterol levels, helps cardiac health, and is good for treating depression, senility, and memory loss. It also improves joint flexibility and relieves pain and swelling due to arthritis.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, helps children to develop properly, improves mental health, and may even stop Alzheimer’s disease if caught early on. It reduces the risk of pernicious anemia and helps with cell renewal, keeping you young and fresh.

In summary, ground cherries are a nutrient-dense fruit that can provide numerous health benefits due to their rich nutritional content.

ground cherry bush

More Nutritional Benefits

Ground cherries are not only packed with vitamins and minerals, but they also offer several other nutritional benefits. With only 53 calories and 1 gram of fat per 3.5 oz serving, ground cherries are an excellent option for those looking to lose weight. The high fiber content in ground cherries helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods, which can prevent overeating.

Ground cherries have no sodium and a low glycemic index score, making them an ideal choice for individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes. Additionally, the high amount of pectin in ground cherries aids in calcium absorption, which is essential for strong bones.

Furthermore, ground cherries contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to protect cells and inhibit cancer, particularly lung, colon, and liver varieties. They are also a diuretic and can be used to aid fluid retention and other such issues. Overall, ground cherries are an excellent addition to any diet, providing numerous health benefits. Read More.ground cherry on a beige background with some in a basket

Health Benefits of Husk Berries

Husk berries, also known as ground cherries, have been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat various ailments such as asthma, dermatitis, hepatitis, malaria, and rheumatism. This berry contains melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep, prevents migraines, and protects against degenerative diseases and reproductive organ cancers.

Including husk berries in your diet is easy and can be done in various ways. It can be added to salads, canned, made into jams or sauces, or dried and eaten like raisins. Due to its high pectin content, it makes a great addition to pies and tarts. Crushed husk berries can also be added to ice cream for a unique flavor combination.

Husk berries can be used to make salsa, cake, or added to cereal. They can also be eaten as is, and their sweet taste can be enhanced by pricking the skin and rolling them in sugar. With so many ways to enjoy this wonderful berry, it’s no wonder it’s becoming increasingly popular in the culinary world. Check out my Cranberry Ground Cherry Sauce.

More Exotic Fruits

The Amazing Benefits Of Lemons

Nature’s Penicillin

These fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial to the body.

Noni, for example, is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Yellow Dragon Fruit is a good source of fiber and vitamin C, while Tuna Fruit is packed with vitamins A and C. White Guava is rich in vitamin C and potassium, while Calamansi is a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Black Sapote is high in vitamin C and fiber, while Tamarind is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly, Yellow Guava is packed with vitamin C and fiber.

Incorporating these exotic fruits into your diet can provide a variety of health benefits and add excitement to your meals.

ground cherry on beige background

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35 Comments

  1. Can you tell me if I am correct I read that they are high in carbs I hope I’m wrong … I count net carbs, carbs minus the fiber

  2. Could you provide me more information on this article and also varies ground cherries or gooseberry.. and its use in medical purpose. i am doing a project on this.

    i need authentic information. please do help me on this

  3. Thank you Michelle for this article! Just discovered ground cherries at a farm and the farmer’s market last year. They are a fantastic fall treat and good to know how healthy they are!
    I was wondering about the B12 though, since it is thought to be found in animal food only except in rare cases where animal fluids are left on the plant. Is this the only plant that contains B12?

  4. Just came across this site. Great information. I like to add something in view of the questions asked about seeds. Don’t worry. Just spread some of the fruit on your garden. Once you till them under in the fall the seeds will grow spontaneously in the spring. Some view ground cherries an invasive specie. I guess they are. Doesn’t matter what soil you have. They will thrive. The good thing about them is that they are easily weeded. Just keep enough to meet your needs. The following fall there will be enough fruit dropped on the ground and many of these, once again tilled under, will give you, more plants you ever thought possible.
    BTW. After harvest I pull out all the plants and compost them. New slate for spring.
    My wife makes jams and pies. All delicious and nutritious too I found out.

  5. For the past weeks my ground cherries do not seem to ripen. However there are many many empty hulls under the plant, like they have fallen off and been eaten from the inside. I see no bugs or ants. What is happening. Yes, the hulls are opened. But no cherry any more. They started out wonderful this summer, and now have lots of green cherries, but the ripe hulls are piled up underneath, but are empty. Puzzled!

    1. Wow Betty that’s so strange, maybe a small nocturnal creature is enjoying them. So sorry, my tree has a lot of ground cherries on still but they just haven’t ripened as yet.

    2. Raccoons love them (at least I am pretty sure that’s who I was sharing mine with) Lucky I planted lots. They are very easy to grow.

  6. I just found these wonderful ground cherries a few weeks ago when I stopped at a little Amish fruit stand. After that first pint, needless to say, I went back for more, and after reading everything here, I am going to go back and get many. They also had a pie, which I bought, and it was out of this world.
    My ground is clay, so do I have to get good topsoil to grow some of these? And you said to keep the seeds until next Spring, do we keep the entire cherry? The seeds are so very small.
    I am so very glad that I googled ground cherry nutritional values and found this page. Thank you so very much.

    1. I can imagine how delicious the pie was. You can dehydrate the ground cherries or remove the seeds. Treat it the same as you would when you are saving tomato seeds.

  7. My grandmother grew these and I haven’t had any since I was a little girl. She made preserves out of them. I recently found some at a Farmer’s Market here and I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get them home! If anyone knows where I can get some seeds and tips on how to get these to grow, please please let me know. I live in Iowa and everyone thinks you are talking about husk tomato’s and they don’t know what ground cherries are. Help….Thanks….

    1. I have some growing in my garden now, you can just take seeds from the ones you bought from the farmers market and allow them to dry for next years growing season. You can also purchase seeds online from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company.

      1. Michelle..this is going to be a silly question, but do I get the seed from the ground cherry itself? I have to plants growing in my garden now. I love ground cherries alot and want to always have them. Another question..I live in Eastern Ontario Canada…can I dig up my ground cherry plants and bring them in the house in planters…would they stay alive?

        1. Joanne, there is no silly question :) Yes the seed itself is fine. I’m not sure about your zone but here in Ohio if you let the fruits that drop on the ground remain, they will reseed and multiply. I’m not sure that you can bring the plant inside, so why not save some seeds before you take the plant indoors.

        2. My husband used to work at Veseys Seeds in PEI. They had them growing in their trial garden. They only planted them once, and they self seeded from then on. I have some growing in my garden this year, so I am going to leave a bunch of them on the plants and see if I can get some volunteers next year. The ones I planted this year, I started inside in April. They looked pretty pathetic for quite awhile and just recently took off like crazy.

          1. I have had luck saving the seeds like you would with a tomato.. lots of info on line. I put the seeds and pulp in a water glass and let them “ferment” a couple days and then use a fine strainer to rub the slimy pulp from the seeds and let them dry well before packaging for next planting.

          2. Karen, thank you for sharing your method with us. I really appreciate it.

    2. Seed savers in Decorah (NE Iowa ) sells a heirloom ground cherry. I think its called Aunt Molly’s. Just got done eating a handful. Was feeling guilty about it until i read this article.

    3. I’m from Iowa also and I can find them at our local farmer market. They are yummy! I eat them as a snack. My kids love em too.

  8. I love you for this report. I had them growing wild in my garden. First book contact: they are poisonous. I pulled them out the first year, eating a few. The next year a mountain man told me abouit grandmother’s ground cherry pie. I let them grow and started eating them raw, So very delicious and precious.

    1. They are so delicious, have some in my garden that I’m waiting to harvest. I might just make a pie with them!

  9. I love ground cherries and could not find any nutritional info about them anywhere in my books – this article is so detailed and now I love ground cherries even more knowing how healthful they are!!!

    Can’t wait to continue to eat them as they ripen through the remainder of fall / early winter

    Kasia

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