Last weekend, I found a new fruit. Yes, I discovered a new fruit buried beneath a flurry of entwined leaves, leaves that looked like they belonged to some sort of squash. I was picking from the last crop of cherry tomatoes at our organic farm and practically fell into a maze of low, thick, slightly furry branches that truly resembled squash plants. Underneath, I found a new fruit.
Yellow and shiny, the ground cherry looked new to me. I’d seen those brown husks before, years ago, but never bothered to peel back and explore the insides. Right out there in the meadow, I peeled, wiped extra dirt off the tiny, firm fruit and popped it into my mouth. If you’ve had a ground cherry before, you know that they taste familiar, like a tropical kiwi merged with a mild cherry, but also brand new with a slight fresh tang.
We horded all we could pile into our shirts and pockets. Once home, I headed to my computer for potential recipes. My chef friend, who was with me on this little farm discovery, didn’t need a recipe. He had picked out a beautiful pork loin roast for our dinner party and knew a sweetly pickled fruit would be quite tasty with each bite. While I husked the quart of yellow gems, he got the pickle mix ready.
Three parts red wine vinegar, one part sugar and one part water began simmering on the range. (I was tempted to recommend lavender honey instead of sugar, but wanted to let him do his thing.) I adore pickled food – vegetables, fruit, shrimp – and with such an easy formula, I wonder why I don’t pickle more often.
We dry-rubbed and slow-grilled the pork loin, serving it thickly sliced with roasted potatoes, these pickled ground cherries, and a sweet arugula and apple mint leaf salad (for garnish and general yumminess.) The dinner made us, and our guests, so happy that we rushed up to the farm the next morning to scour for more ground cherries. We brought home all we could carry, dreaming of more pickles, pies and pretty breakfasts of granola, yogurt and these plump, yellow gems.
Up next this weekend: Ground Cherry Jam!
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.