Ground Cherry Preserves

by Erin

Preserve the summer inside a jar with these ground cherry preserves. Except these preserves taste like fall, but either way it’s delicious if you can find some ground cherries!

Ground Cherry Preserves 4

I cannot recall with whom I was discussing the difference between jelly, jam, preserves, and marmalade, but after rationalizing the differences I took tot he internet to see if it agreed with what we deduced and it did! The gist of it is that jelly is made from fruit juice with any solids removed, jam is made from both the fruit juice and solids which are usually pureed or crushed, preserves are similar but with chunkier fruit, and marmalades are just citrus preserves.

Ground Cherry Preserves 1

So what I am sharing with you today is ground cherry preserves. Now that we’ve tackled the issue of what preserves are, what the heck are ground cherries (aka husk cherries)? I had never heard of nor seen such a thing until I stumbled upon them at a farmers market North of Columbus in Delaware. They look like mini tomatillos, wrapped up in their little husks, but truly taste like a cross between a cherry and a tomato -go figure. So I promptly bought a bunch of them with zero plan in mind.

Ground Cherry Preserves 2

Fast forward a couple days and while I enjoyed eating them straight up finally sought out to find a recipe in which to use them. I pondered pies, coffee cakes, and salads but none of them were striking me. I settled on making preserves but wasn’t altogether very excited about that either and yet I did it anyway. Thank goodness because the end result is crazy good. It actually ended up tasting like a fall spiced orange marmalade despite the flavor of the ground cherries. Now I want to use it on a fall-inspired charcuterie board!

Ground Cherry Preserves 3

Two years ago: Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Three years ago: Peanut Butter & Jelly Stuffed French Toast Waffles

Four years ago: Open-Faced Ricotta, Arugula, and Egg Sandwiches

Six years ago: Rosemary Brie Chicken Burgers

GROUND CHERRY PRESERVES

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground cherries with husks removed and washed

1-1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Fill a boil-water canner with rack (or large stock pot) half-full with water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water and rinse with warm water. Immerse jars in the simmering water. Cover and let stand until ready to use.
  3. Combine ground cherries, sugar, and lime and orange zest and juice in a large (6-8 qt.) sauce pan over high heat. Bring pot to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium and continue simmering until all the ground cherries have burst open, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the last 10 minutes, add ginger and cinnamon. Remove pot from heat.
  4. Drain the canning jars. Ladle the jam mixture quickly into the jars, leaving 1/8-inch at the top. Wipe jar rims and threads and cover tightly with two-piece lids. Place filled jars back in the simmering water and ensure they are covered by 1-2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove jars and place upright on a cooling rack to cool completely (check seals by pressing the middle of the lid – if it springs back it is not sealed and requires refrigeration). Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, undisturbed. Store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to a year. Store opened jars in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. (Alternatively, you can skip the canning and just place in a jar and put in the fridge but it won’t last as long).

Source: Adapted from At the Immigrant’s Table.

7 comments

7 comments

Cheryl September 28, 2019 - 3:04 pm

Ripe ground cherries are so sweet, I don’t understand why one would add so much sugar!?!?
I use one cup white sugar to 5 1/2 pounds of ground cherries. Using brown sugar gives the ground cherries an odd flavor in my opinion. I’ll never use brown sugar again, as it distracts from the wonderful flavor of the berries.

Reply
spiffycookie September 28, 2019 - 8:38 pm

You need a certain amount of sugar to ensure it will gel and preserve, but I am willing to attempt making it with less. As for the brown sugar, I am sorry it wasn’t appealing to you!

Reply
Jessica September 11, 2018 - 4:11 am

Oooo yum! Sounds amazing!

Reply
Bethia September 10, 2018 - 9:54 am

We love ground cherries for snacking and packed lunches. I do occasionally use them in a salad but haven’t cooked with them.

Reply
spiffycookie September 10, 2018 - 11:50 am

Definitely good for snacking

Reply
Susan September 10, 2018 - 9:42 am

I had to ponder ground cherries for a minute before I understood why I recognize them. It’s something we actually have a couple of species of growing in our local park (the one where we volunteer). The reason they taste at least somewhat like tomatoes and/or tomatillos is that all of them are members of the nightshade family. I don’t think I realized that ground cherries were edible. Thank you for educating me.

Reply
spiffycookie September 10, 2018 - 11:50 am

How fun enjoy!

Reply

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