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How to save ground cherry harvest???

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How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Patty from Yorktown on Mon 27 Jun 2011 - 15:27

I have a few ground cherries from my plant, not more than 6. I know I can make a pie or jam, but not with 6 berries. Does anybody know how I can save the fruit until I have more of a harvest? Freeze them, blanch them, leave them on the kitchen counter??? Thanks for your help.

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Furbalsmom on Mon 27 Jun 2011 - 18:02

Territorial Seed says that they will last up to 3 months if left in their husk. There were no further instructions so I assume on the counter. I am trying on the counter because I had 6 cherries fall off the plant.

See this GROUND CHERRY

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  miinva on Mon 27 Jun 2011 - 18:02

My husband is a fruit lover so I've considered planting ground cherries. Are they easy to grow? I'm sorry I don't know anything about preserving them.

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Patty from Yorktown on Mon 27 Jun 2011 - 18:25

Oops, I took the husks off. I guess I will eat the first 4. My ground cherries are yellow and the papery husk come off easily. In answer to the question "how hard they to grow?" They are easy to grow. I started seeds (I think) inside, when I started my tomatoes. The seeds are tiny, as was the plant. They did not do much for awhile, then all of a sudden they have gotten pretty big. Flea beetles seem to like them, but other than some crewed on leaves the plants seem fine. They are pretty big. I planted one per squarefoot. The spacing seems alright, the plant is about 2 feet tall. I hope this helps.

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  miinva on Tue 28 Jun 2011 - 10:40

I'll have to give them a try. I bought a couple of muscadine vines but still haven't managed to get them in the ground. I don't want to have to spray or use harsh chemicals, so I'm trying to find things that grow well in central Virginia and muscadine grapes are supposedly native to here. I've heard people around here say their grandparents grew ground cherries, so I guess I need to give it a try! Smile

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Glendale-gardener on Tue 28 Jun 2011 - 18:12

I've got 2 ground cherry plants and they are both producing really well. I started them from seed in March I think. So far, they've been the favorite thing we're growing because my boys check them each morning to see if any have fallen and they'll tap the plant to drop a few more. I made a vague attempt to save them long enough to make them into something but they usually get eaten right away! Next year, I'll probably go for 6 plants.

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  FamilyGardening on Tue 28 Jun 2011 - 21:50

this is the first year for me to grow them....i bought two from our local school plant sale...they were soooo tiny and now they are growing great!....they are getting some tiny flowers on them....is this what your plants look like?



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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  miinva on Wed 29 Jun 2011 - 9:12

The flowers even look similar to tomatillos, but not quite the same Smile

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Unmutual on Fri 1 Jul 2011 - 16:34

Nice, I just ordered some seeds for next year(or maybe for a 2nd summer crop). Thanks for the info, great timing!

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on Tue 26 Jul 2011 - 8:35

Even with this cool, damp weather we're having in Western Oregon, my Aunt Molly's ground cherries are starting to set fruit (several about the size of my thumb nail). Even more exciting is the appearance of berries on the garden huckleberry bushes. I've not heard of anyone here in PNW trying to grow them, so this is encouraging. The plants are getting very tall, over 4 feet. Garden huckleberries are distant cousins to ground cherries, if I understand correctly. Being mostly a Southern delight, I've planted them alongside the ground cherries in the hottest quadrant of the garden. Fingers crossed for a successful harvest.

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  FamilyGardening on Tue 26 Jul 2011 - 11:23

Nonna we have two huckleberry bushes Very Happy this is our first year to grow them....they are my husbands favorite!......let us know when you are able to eat some of the fruit....since this is our first year i dont know when to harvest....not sure what kind of huckleberry they are......they seem to have tiny little berries on them....



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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on Tue 26 Jul 2011 - 13:37

FamilyG, Many years and miles ago, we lived in a house in Texas where the previous owners had planted garden huckleberries, so I know not to pick them until the berries turn from shiny blue-black to dull black. Even at that, they are sour and not very tasty until cooked with sugar, then they're delicious. I know they make a great pie, but have not had an opportunity since Texas to cook with them past that. It's my understanding that you can use them just any way you would cooked blueberries...just add sweetening and heat: pie, jam, compotes, sauces. Here's what Mother Earth News has to say about them: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/1983-03-01/Garden-Huckleberries.aspx

Another source I found online cooks them with some baking soda to effect a chemical change in the berries which improves the taste:

"Place 8 cups of berries in a non-aluminum one gallon size pan and add enough water to not quite cover the fruit. As they begin to boil add a total of 1/3 cup of baking soda (a little at a time) and stir continuously. As you add baking soda, green foam will appear. After adding the baking soda, cook for 10 minutes at a low boil. The mixture will continue to foam quite a bit as the berries are cooking. After they have cooked for 10 minutes, drain this solution off and rinse with clean water. The berries will still be somewhat hard. Next return the pan of berries to the stove, add 1/3 cup water and ½ cup of lemon juice. Watch with amazement as the mixture changes from emerald green to a royal purple color. Cook an additional 35 minutes until the berries are tender and then add 2 ¾ cups of sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon extract, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup of tapioca. Pour the above mixture into two 8 inch unbaked pie shells, the add a top crust or lattice and bake as you would a blueberry pie."



It'll be fun to compare our experiences with the ripe berries. Nonna

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  FamilyGardening on Wed 27 Jul 2011 - 16:09

we found one ground cherry that has fallen off the bush.....when we opened it there was a small green bead in there......does that happen sometimes?....they will fall off not ripe?.....this is our first time growing or tasting them Shocked ....i thought there would be a yellowish/orange color fruit a bit bigger in there Sad



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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  Furbalsmom on Wed 27 Jul 2011 - 16:39

Ripe ground cherries will be small, but have yellow fruit. Don't know why a green one fell from the plant, they usually are ripe before dropping.

Don't let the kids snack on any that have not yet fallen, and don't let them snack on green ones. Unripe ground cherries can give you a tummy ache.

Harvested Ground cherries

Peeled Ground Cherries

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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

Post  FamilyGardening on Wed 27 Jul 2011 - 16:44

thank you Furb! Very Happy



if it happens again....i will take a pic and show you Very Happy



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Re: How to save ground cherry harvest???

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