Farmer’s Market Find: Ground Cherries

I was recently at a local Farmer’s Market and saw an item I was completely unfamiliar with. Was it a vegetable? A fruit? Something I was suppose to eat at all? I asked the woman behind the table what this mystery item was, and after she generously offered me a taste I was blown away that I had not tried them until now. So, please allow me to introduce you to Ground Cherries and encourage you to seek them out when you are visiting your own local market this weekend.

Ground Cherries

Ground cherries are closely related to the tomatillo and Chinese lantern, and more distantly the tomato, eggplant, potato and other members of the nightshade family. Contrary to what the name implies, it is not related to the cherry. 

Ground cherries are small, approximately 1-2 centimeters in diameter and are enclosed in a papery husk. When you unwrap the husk, you are greeted by a tiny golden yellow/orange fruit. It is sweet, but slightly tart, almost like a cross between a pineapple and a cherry tomato. 

Reap the Health Benefits

This fruit is incredibly beneficial to your health! High in vitamins A, C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and betacarotene; ground cherries also have significant amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, bioflavonoids, protein and fiber. 

In addition to being chokful of vitamins, this little powerhouse only has 74 calories in a 1-cup serving, and just 1 gram of fat. Because of their high fiber content, ground cherries will help you feel full so they are a great snack when cravings strike. 

Ground cherries also have powerful antioxidant properties and are known to protect the liver and kidneys against fibrosis, relieve arthritis pain, improve cognitive ability and eyesight, and assist with cardiovascular functions. Traditionally, ground cherries have been used to deal with diseases such as depression, hepatitis, dermatitis, asthma and insomnia.

Get Your Hands on Them

Ground cherries are only in season from August to October, so make sure to grab some before they are gone for another year!