Ground Cherries

As a unique crop gaining popularity, many smaller growers are exploring how to grow Ground Cherries among their usual crops. While not often found in grocery stores, Ground Cherries are becoming a staple at local farmer's markets or in CSA baskets. Also called the Cape Gooseberry or Husk Cherry, this sweet and tart fruit originates in Brazil and is a member of the Nightshade (or Solanaceae) plant family. Each ground cherry is covered by a papery husk that should be kept on until ready to be consumed.

Ground cherries contain a healthy dose of beta-carotene, as well as vitmains A and C. Their high pectic content helps the body to absorb calcium from other foods and their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make this fruit a great addition to the diet. To avoid the toxins present in the fruit, ground cherries should only be consumed once they are fully ripe.

how to grow ground cherries

Growing ground cherries in GardenSoxx® | Plant Family: Solanaceae


Different Varieties of Ground Cherries

There are few known different varieties of ground cherries - and most seed packets will typically not even list the specific cultivar they contain. While there may be more that do exist, the following three varieties are the most common:

New Hanover ground cherries are one of the original varieties sold in stores. It is an annual cultivar that grows best in full sun, and has a pleasantly sweet taste that lends well to jellies, jams and pies.

Aunt Molly’s cultivar is an heirloom perennial variety that will mature in about 70 days from planting. While they do have a sweetness, their flavor leans more to the tangy side, giving them a more tropical flavor profile.

Slightly quicker to mature, the Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry will yield a harvest in about 60 days from planting. These low-growing plants offer high yields and a fruit with a tasty tang that well in a fresh summer salsa.

Nutritional Information For Ground Cherries

Nutritional Facts - per 100/g

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 53 -
Total Fat 0.7 g -
Sodium 0 mg -
Potassium 300 mg -
Dietary Fiber 3 g -
Sugar 10 g -
Protein 1.9 g -
Vitamin C - 12%
Iron - 6%
Calcium - 1%


How to Grow Ground Cherries in Your GardenSoxx®

Seeds can be started indoors before the last frost, but can also be sown directly outdoors once the weather has warmed. Ground cherries are known to self-seed and you may very well find them popping up in your garden year after year, even if you have only planted them once. Ensure the soil is well-draining as they prefer to not sit with wet roots. It is best not to plant Nightshade plant varieties in the same soil multiple years in a row.

Ground Cherries Seed to Harvest Time:  Approximately 75 Days

ground cherry planting guide

How to Harvest Ground Cherries

When ground cherries are ripe, they will typically fall off the plant on their own or with a light shaking of the plant’s branches. The outer husks will have lost their green hue and will feel dry and papery. The fruit itself will have a bright yellow/orange color. They can be stored for quite some time after harvest, provided the husk is kept on.

Posted in: Fruits

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