Find out the differences between a ground or stone cherry and a gooseberry. This fruit with many different names is related to another fruit that you may be surprised to hear (*hint if you love green taco sauce, you will know what fruit I am talking about).
Let us clear up all the name confusion for you!
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.
That brings us to the topic of ground cherries, also commonly referred to as cape gooseberries. Are they the same fruit or something completely different. That's the topic you came to explore.
🙋 What is a Ground Cherry?
First I first discovered them at a farmer's market the vendor called them "stone cherries" or "ground cherries. I come to learn that they are also called cape gooseberries, and even sometimes called husk tomatoes or husk cherries. That's a lot of names! So is it a cherry? Is it a gooseberry? Is it a tomato?
Actually it's a member of the tomatillo family!
I have grown them both of these before and I can attest the plants look very similar. Tomatillos have a husk just like ground cherries, but the fruit grows a lot larger. A ground cherry 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 - most grocery stores sell them now without the husk.
Most recently they have started to be marketed as golden berries, which I think is going to be the name most people will know them as soon.
👅 What Do They Taste Like?
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 tomato but with a different flavor. Some say they have a pineapple-like taste.
I gave one to a co-worker when I worked at a grocery store and he said they tasted like vanilla cake! If you have ever had corn on the cob roasted 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. My kids are split on whether they like them too, one loves them, one doesn't at all.
❓ Are Ground Cherries and Gooseberries the Same Thing?
A gooseberry is something very different. They are a small fruit that doesn't have a husk. They more resemble a grape in appearance. They have a tough outer skin and are pretty tart inside. I can't stomach them as is. They do make for great jam once you add in the sugar, they have a lot of pectin so won't need to add any.
What is this Cape Gooseberry business? It's not known for sure. It was known to cultivated in the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa. Maybe the name came from there?
🥧 What Are They Used For?
Besides just eating straight up, people make pies, jams, and jellies with ground cherries. You cannot use ground cherries and gooseberries interchangeably. They are completely different. But you can use ground cherries and cape gooseberries interchangeably as they are the same. Got it? 🙂
🌱 Can I Grow Them?
Absolutely. The nice thing about them is that you can start the seeds just like you would start seeds for tomatoes and harvest the fruit that summer. Great if you don't have the patience to wait for other types of fruits that grow on trees or bushes to produce.
☀️ When in Season?
Ground cherries are in season locally the same time as tomatoes and tomatillos are harvested in your area. In the grocery store you can find them year round now, sold as Golden Berries.
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