What Is a Stone Cherry, Ground Cherry, or Cape Gooseberry?

(Last Updated On: August 30, 2011)

Identifying fruit is not always the easiest task. It is even more complex when a fruit has several different names. And even more complex when that fruit has names of other fruits in it’s name. Yesterday at Westside Farmer’s Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I discovered the stone cherries, also called ground cherries, also called cape gooseberries, and even sometimes called husk tomatoes. So is it a cherry? Is it a gooseberry? Is it a tomato? Actually it’s a member of the tomatillo family. Now that I have you completely confused, let me just tell you what a ground cherry is. It is a circular piece of fruit, similar in size and shape to a cherry tomato that grows inside a husk that you remove to eat the fruit. Without the husk you might even think they are a cherry tomato.

So what do these things taste like? There seems to be as many opinions on this as there is names for the fruit. The texture is similar to eating a cherry tomoato but with a different flavor. Some say they have a pineapple-like taste. I gave one to a co-worker and he said they tasted like vanilla cake! If you have ever had corn on the cob rosted in the oven inside the husk, I think the ground cherry as a similar aftertaste to the corn. Anyway you look at it you are going to have to try to get some yourself to make your own determination.

What Are Ground Cherries Used For?
Besides just eating straight up, people make pies, jams, and jellies with them.

Can I Grow Ground Cherries at Home?
Absolutely! You can purchase the seeds online. They take 75 days from planting to harvest.