The first thing you should know about ground cherries, also referred to as husk cherries, is that they aren’t cherries at all. A member of the tomatillo family, they’re tart and sweet when eaten raw straight from the husk, and develop a rich, caramel-like flavor when baked into pies, cobblers, or jams. Legend has it that the “ground” prefix developed because they fall to the ground from the bush when they’re ripe and ready to eat. Local chefs hold this unique fruit in high regard come summer, the only time of the year they can source them.
At Tinker Street, ground cherries have garnished the housemade paw paw ice cream and appeared in preserved form as a sour pickle.
Public Greens uses them in heavy rotation, baking them into cobblers or serving them fresh in a Waldorf salad, with kale, celery, apples, walnuts, and marshmallows.
At Recess, the fruit might show up in a chunky salsa, offering a sweet/savory accompaniment to fresh fish, or on the dessert course, where Tulip Tree Creamery’s Trillium cheese provides a rich yin to ground cherry jam’s acidic yang.