Monkey Tails


We used to call them frozen bananas with peanut butter and dark chocolate. Not a very catchy name. Our clients kids said, “Those are monkey tails!” It was easy to agree.

They are fun to make with kids and build a stash in the freezer. Pull them out as needed to cool a sweltering day.

Nutrition in the ingredients- one by one

Bananas- a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Peanut butter- a good source of niacin (a B vitamin), vitamin E, magnesium, and the antioxidant selenium. You also get some protein.

Dark chocolate-antioxidants and some fiber!! Also many minerals, including iron and magnesium.

But I can’t eat PB.

Use another nut or seed butter instead. Almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, sesame (tahini). Whatever you like. They will taste different, but still delicious.


Dark chocolate scares me.

These are dark monkeys, not milky monkeys. Go ahead, try it. Dark chocolate is a perfect complement to the sweet banana and the creamy peanut butter. Making these with milk chocolate seems like a crime to me.

Monkey Tails serves 4

ingredients metric measures
4 almost ripe bananas about 120 gm each
8 wooden sticks 8
1 cup peanut butter 375 gm
1 ½ cup chocolate chips 225 gm
1 tablespoon oil 15 ml

Cut bananas crosswise into two tails (halves) and insert stick into cut ends. Then peel bananas.

Spread peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter) over each banana. Place bananas on plastic wrap lined cookie sheet and freeze until cold, at least one hour.

Place chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl. Warm in 20-second intervals until the chips are melted and smooth. The chips can melt without losing their shape, so be sure to stir after each heating.

Spread chocolate over the frozen bananas. Return to freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm.


Wrap in plastic wrap if not eating right away. Store wrapped bananas in a freezer container. Loose Monkey Tails tend to stray to the far reaches of the freezer. You do not want to find an escapee 2 years from now.

This recipe is easily halved or doubled. How many Monkey Tails do you have at your house?

*This post will be submitted to the August edition of “Go Ahead Honey, it is Gluten Free!” blogging event. This month is hosted by Kim Hopkins of The Allergy Coach with a sweltering summer Chill Out theme. Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried created the very popular “Go Ahead Honey, it is Gluten Free”. Thanks ladies!!

Ground Cherry Salsa

groundcherry (5)

ground cherries in husks photo by vsimon

Salsa is perfect in the heat of the summer. Super fresh produce, raw, ready in a few minutes. No need to heat up the kitchen. And in this case, no need to venture to the store. We use what is ripe in the garden.

Have you ever heard of ground cherries?

We grow the usual- beans, tomatoes, cucumbers. And the unusual.

We ran across a ground cherry plant at the nursery this spring and  said, “there must be room for that.” And we are delighted with our ground cherries. These are new to us, the old timers are more likely to know about ground cherries than we are. They probably would not think of salsa though.

Ground cherries grow in their own package. A papery husk protects them. It might be edible (I do not know), but I doubt it is palatable. Pop the golden colored fruit out of the husk before eating. Green fruits are not ripe yet.

What do they taste like?

We have been trying to describe the flavor to each other.

Sweet? Yes, moderately, not a sweet as a grape.
Vanilla? Maybe.
Pineapple-ish? Maybe.
Cream? She says yes, he says no.
Tomato-ish? He says yes, she says, “now that you mention it”.
Musky? Slightly.

You can see it is a bit difficult to nail down this complex flavor. It could pair well with sweet or savory dishes.

What could you do with ground cherries?

Jam for sure. A sauce for pork tenderloin could work. Of course, pie or tarts. Mixed into coffee cakes. Covered with dark chocolate. How do you use them?


ground cherry plant 

ground cherry plant photo by vsimon

How to grow ground cherries.

They are easy, easy, easy. Plant a small plant in a sunny spot. Give it plenty of room. In Wisconsin, fruits start to ripen in late July, and continue until frost. We started with one plant. I suspect ground cherries will be like dill. You only need to plant it once. Next year volunteers will sprout all over the garden. Right now that sounds appealing to me. I will let you know if I change my mind next year.

How to harvest.

Ripe ground cherries fall off the plant and land on the ground. Hence the name. The papery husk keeps it clean. Simply pick up the yellow ripe fruit. In theory, these “cherries” are easy to reach, so this could be a good job for short people.

But it feels like I am doing yoga in the garden while harvesting ground cherries. There is a lot of twisting and reaching to get to all of them out from under the sprawling plant. At first, we did this about every three days. Now we harvest every day.

We have been harvesting ground cherries for about two weeks now. First we made a simple, right from the garden salsa, see recipe below. Then we added them to mixed fruit salad, and liked it. Now we keep them in a bowl on the counter and eat them out of hand. We hope to harvest enough for jam or chutney soon.

About the other salsa ingredients

We also are trying carrot peppers. This is a hot pepper that looks like a small carrot. What you think is carrot in the photo is really the pepper. I like sweet and heat, so added it to the ground cherries. It was really hot. Not as hot as a habanero, but plenty hot. So I added diced cucumber to cool it down. And cilantro because I love it. Hot, cold, sweet, heat, herbal. It’s all good. This is a perfect fresh side dish for a Mexican menu.

ground cherry salsa

ground cherry and cucumber salsa photo by vsimon

Ground Cherry and Cucumber Salsa

ingredients metric measures
1/2 cup husked and diced ground cherries 70 gm
1 cup peeled, seeded, diced cucumbers 180 gm
1 carrot pepper, a few slices for garnish,
the rest diced fine
20 gm
1/4 cup chopped cilantro 15 gm

Mix it up. Any leftovers keep for a day or two in the fridge.

You may not have access to ground cherries this year. I am not likely to find them at my supermarket, but they might be available at a farmers market. They are fun to play with and are worth planting in your garden next year. Stay tuned for a few more ground cherry recipes.

*This post will be submitted to Grow Your Own #33, a twice a month recipe roundup, hosted this time by MomGateway.  Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes started Grow Your Own nearly two years ago. Grow Your Own celebrates foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products. Reason enough for a celebration!