Cherries in the Garden: Knowing how to pick and use ground cherries.

“I received a package of ground cherries free when I bought all of my seeds a few years ago, which I planted the ground cherries and they come up well.  However I noticed they are in almost  a “pod” of some form….how do I know when to pick these????  Will the “pod”  peel off???  If you could answer this question (I hope it makes sense) that would be great!  Very fascinated with this plant.    Thanks!  Donna”


Hi Donna,

Thank you for the email regarding your ground cherries.  Yes, ground
cherries do have a pod — they are very similar to tomatillos in appearance
(if you are familiar with them), but the fruit inside is much smaller.

What will happen is that the pods will continue to grow.  If you were to
gently squeeze one, you would find that it is filled with air with a small
round fruit inside. As they develop, the fruit gets larger and fills the
pod.  You will notice that they start to look like they are drying — this
is good.  The brown-husked pods will fall off the plant on the ground below.
Inside will be the yellow ground cherry.  The husk can be stripped off and
the fruit washed and used for fresh eating or desserts.

Just a few tips from a long-time ground cherry grower:  make sure that they
get enough water when the pods are forming.  If the plants dry out enough to
start wilting, every pod on the plant will drop prematurely.  Once the
fruits start to drop, you want to make sure to pick them up daily.  This
will prevent the fruit from laying on the ground and rotting when the dew is
out at night, prevent animals from smelling them and coming for a sweet
snack, and making a reseeding mess the following year.

Do you have any recipes for them?  If not, let me know and I can send you a



© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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