Cranberry Potato Kidney Bean Salad

cranberry potato salad(3)

 cranberry potato and kidney bean salad photo by vsimon

In our big backyard garden, we grew cranberry potatoes. They are red skinned with pinkish flesh. I thought, what could we do with potatoes? Potato salad! And since it’s chilly outside, warm potato salad!

I had made Garlicky Green Bean and Potato Salad this summer and liked it so much, I thought what can I do to expand on that recipe? How can I showcase cranberry potatoes?  What could I change in the recipe to make it unique and delicious?

Dried cranberries, red onions, rosemary,  kidney beans!

The potatoes and kidney beans are smooth and creamy. The dried cranberries are chewy and sweet. The red onion is red and crisp. The vinegar is tangy. The rosemary is fragrant and flavorful. It is all good.

The cranberry potatoes we dug for this recipe are only slightly pink. Sometimes the flesh is very pink. Cranberry potatoes taste just like regular red skinned potatoes with white flesh. So buy whatever kind the store has, any red skinned potato will work here.

This recipe is simple, all you need to cook is the potatoes. They are 3 minutes quick in a pressure cooker. Or about 15 minutes on the stovetop.

cranberry potato salad

close up photo by vsimon

Cranberry Potato Kidney Bean Salad

Serves 4-6 metric measures
1 pound red potatoes, diced 480 gm
¼ cup dried cranberries 40 gm
¼ cup diced red onion 30 gm
1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 450 gm
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 90 ml
2 tablespoons olive oil 30 ml
2 tablespoons potato water 30 ml
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced 5 gm
Salt and pepper to taste  

Dice potatoes and cook until tender. Cook on the stovetop covered with water for about 15 minutes. Or in a pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water for 3 minutes.

Drain potatoes, reserving some of the water. Cool a bit. Put into a large bowl with dried cranberries, onion, and kidney beans.

Whisk together vinegar, oil, potato water, and rosemary. Toss with the other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This is lovely served warm on a chilly day. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary if you have it.


cranberry potato salad(2)

pink cranberry potato and kidney bean salad photo by vsimon

What is your favorite potato salad?

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!

Asian Amaranth Greens

standing in amaranth

yours truly standing in amaranth photo by vsimon

You have probably heard of amaranth seeds and flour as a healthy alternative to refined starches in the gluten free diet. But have you ever heard of amaranth greens?

A reader asked how to harvest amaranth seeds. I had no idea and took it as a suggestion to grow some in our garden. We ordered a mixed packet of seeds. This stuff is amazing. The tallest plants are now 8 feet tall, planted from seed just 10 weeks ago. The smallest are about 3 feet.

I am falling in love with the tasty versatility of this wonder plant.

It is too soon for seeds, though flowers are forming. In June, we enjoyed the young stalks with a distinct asparagus shape and flavor. The amaranth stalks are too woody to chew now in late July, even the small ones.

But the greens are delightful, a mild and mellow earthy greens flavor. And all of our amaranth have green leaves. I have seen pictures of red and green leaves that look like they are tie-dyed, ours are just plain green.

I leave the giant plants alone to produce seeds. And rummage through the patch for shorter stalks and smallish leaves.

They are sturdier than spinach and do not cook down quite as much. Still, two cups in the pan with yield only about 1/3 cup sautéed greens.


Amaranth is loaded with vitamin K. This is probably good for your bones.

But not so good for a consistent blood clotting time if you are on Coumadin. Unless you eat a cup of dark leafy greens every day.

Amaranth greens are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, calcium, potassium, and iron. In very few calories. And I could not find data on the fiber content, but I suspect the greens have some.

asian amaranth greens

Asian amaranth photo by vsimon

Asian Amaranth Greens

Yield: one serving (My husband is not a greens kinda guy).

You can double the recipe, using a very large sauté pan.

Ingredients metric measures
2 cups amaranth leaves 60 grams
1 teaspoon white rice vinegar 5 ml
1 teaspoon gluten free soy sauce 5 ml
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 5 ml
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds less than 1 gram

Put the leaves, white rice vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, and sesame oil in a sauté pan.

Cook on high heat for just a few minutes, turning frequently with tongs.

Top with sesame seeds.

I encourage you to plant amaranth next year, either in your vegetable or your flower garden. You may know some decorative kinds as Joseph’s Coat and Love Lies Bleeding. I don’t know if these are edible, but it might be fun to nibble on the flower garden. You could also to forage for wild amaranth, called pigweed.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a source for amaranth seeds to plant . Or you might try planting some seeds that you bought to eat. That would be the easiest way to get seeds for planting. Please let us know if to do this and how it worked.

This post will be submitted to the biweekly roundup of Grow Your Own, started by Andrea’s recipes blog. The end of July session is hosted by Amy I. of Playing House. If you grow your own, your latest creation is welcomed.