This year, after last year having more tomatillos than I knew how to deal with, I decided to try something new. Instead of tomatillos, I planted its sweeter and smaller cousin, ground cherry. I wasn’t sure that this would work. None of the local nursery have seedlings, but I ordered a pack of seeds, and started them indoors about 4 weeks before last frost. The seedlings grow fast, but they also like warm temperatures, so I waited to plant them until after the temperatures were above 50F at night consistently. Once planted, these plants grew very fast, warmer days, you could almost see the change in growth in a single day.
My ground cherry plants are now almost 3 times the size of the seedlings above and in flower. These little plants are a powerhouse, and prolific, so I’m likely going to have a bumper crop of berries to cook up this fall. Last summer, I purchased some berries and canned some jam which turned out wonderful.
Ground Cherry Jam
Here’s my recipe for ground cherry jam – water bath canned:
5 cups – husked and washed ground cherries
1/2-3/4 cup water
2+ cups sugar (to taste)
1/2 large lemon – juiced
1 tsp – vanilla extract
Pomonas Pectin – use directions on packaging for lower acid recipes
Ground cherries should be ripe to very ripe, with a deep golden color. Add ingredients in sauce pan and turn on medium flame. Mash berries, and cook down until berries are well mixed. Add sugar to taste, sugar content does not affect gelling when using Pomona’s Pectin. Use measurements on Pomona’s packaging for calcium solution and pectin amounts. Always mix pectin powder with dry sugar prior to adding to fruit to help it mix well. Bring to a boil and check for consistency.
Leave 1/4″ headspace. Process in 4oz or 8oz jelly jars for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes about 5 half pints. Keeps about 10-14 days in fridge once opened so I prefer 4oz jars.