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Dried Ground Cherries

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left to right: naked ground cherries, cinnamon raisin dried ground cherries, whole ground cherries with their husks, ground cherry plant 

photo by vsimon

Last year we had 1, this year we 7 ground cherry plants. Some we paid for, some were grown from saved seeds. Some were volunteer plants from last year. This could get out of hand.

A purchase plant was labeled “pineapple ground cherry”, most were simply “ground cherry.” We taste tested each one and didn’t notice any difference in flavor, size, or color. I think the pineapple name is just a marketing ploy.

Vince has already put up 26  jars of ground cherry jam. That is probably enough, even for gift giving. We have also had ground cherry and raspberry crisp. But what to do with this continuing embarrassment of riches? Dry them!! 

We have a super duper commercial quality dehydrator, with a thermostat and a fan. We use it every year for sliced dried tomatoes. Dried until they are thin and crispy, they are easy to crumble by hand into recipes. 

Reasoning, if we didn’t dry them as long, dried ground cherries might be like raisins. They are a similar texture.

We tried drying them whole and halved. Whole took much too long, up to 24 hours. Halved, they are done overnight.

Since ground cherries are not as sweet as grapes, it follows dried ones are not as sweet as raisins.

So they could go either way, sweet or savory. We tried many seasonings. Sugar and cinnamon for sweet. Simple salt and pepper, garam masala, smoked and hot paprika for savory. You can probably think of many other combinations.

The sweets can be summery additions to your breakfast cereal or muffins this fall and winter. The savory ones make good bar snacks. Think of munching on chewy nutless seasoned nuts.

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whole and halved ground cherries with sugar and cinnamon on drying racks photo by vsimon

Sugar and Cinnamon Ground Cherries

These are plenty sweet. As sweet, or sweeter than raisins.

2/3 cup sugar (we used white granulated)

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

8 cups husked ground cherries, halved (about 2.5 pounds)

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix sugar and cinnamon together.

Toss with halved ground cherries.

Place in a single layer on 5 drying racks.

Dry overnight at about 115 degrees. We put the dehydrator outside so it doesn’t heat up the house.

Store in glass containers. Or plastic, if you must. I like to put them in the freezer, they don’t take up much room. It isn’t necessary, I just like to store lots of things in the freezer.

Savory Dried Ground Cherries

Simply halve and sprinkle your choice of seasoning on them. Be careful, a little goes a long way. Start with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for 8 cups of ground cherries. They shrink by more than half and the flavoring gets concentrated. You can always add more after they are dry.

What seasonings would you try?

5 Responses to “Dried Ground Cherries”

  1. This is so innovative! You always have such great ideas. I wish I could find some ground cherries nearby to try to do this!

  2. Julie says:

    Whoa Linda! I always learn something so cool and interesting when I read your blog. Ground cherries…wow…I’ve heard of them but have never tried them. Haven’t even seen them and I live in the nations fruit basket. I may need to start asking my Farmers Market purveyors some hard pointed questions :) Seriously though, these sound great! Perhaps I’d try them with some curry???
    Hope you’re feeling well. Take care!

  3. Trish says:

    Hi Linda. I like your blog. Beautiful photos! I love ground cherries. I’ve been on the lookout for a used dehydrator for some time now. I can’t wait to dry some things. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Bummer on the false Pineapple Cherry plants. Sounds interesting. I just googled it and the description sounds so unique and tasty.

    I’ve heard such good things about food dehydrators, but haven’t yet ventured into purchasing one. This post may have convinced me. Dried cherries are my favorite dried fruit.

    As far as spices? Hmm…maybe a chipotleish something? Like a smokey, cherry salsa sounds delish!

    Hope all is well,
    Betsy

    P.S. You and Vince SERIOUSLY need to write a cookbook. Your pictures are gorgeous and your recipes are divine. Go for it! I want a signed copy! ;)

  5. gfe--gluten free easily says:

    Fascinating! I know absolutely nothing about ground cherries. Thanks for this informative post, Linda. And, wow, on that top photo–absolutely stunning.

    Shirley

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