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?

Snack on Crunchy Buckwheat Groats

crunchy buckwheat groats

seasoned crunchy buckwheat groats photo by vsimon

It was difficult to get this shot. Vincent kept eating them.

Plain buckwheat groats have a soft crunch right out of the bag. But I wanted to try dressing them up a bit, and this was an addictive hit.

Groat is a weird word

Yes, it is. It means a grain without the hull. Except that buckwheat isn’t truly a grain. And it is not wheat. So maybe it isn’t the best word here, but it is what this whole seed is called.

Super Duper Nutrition

We need tee shirts that say, “Eat more buckwheat!”

Buckwheat improves your flow. Your cardiovascular flow that is. It lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.

It also improves glucose and insulin response.

And it quiets the “hungry, hungry” whispers for a long time.

Keeping it gluten free

Balsamic vinegar is gluten free.

You’ll have to look for gluten free soy sauce. Caution, caution! Many brands are made with wheat and soy. They will have wheat on the ingredient label and the allergen statement.

You want soy sauce made only with soy. It may be called soy sauce or tamari.  You can probably findit locally, or order online.

Crunchy Buckwheat Groats

serves 1 husband with the munchies metric measures
1 cup buckwheat groats 170 gm
1 tablespoon butter or oil 15 gm
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 15 ml
1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce 15 ml

Put butter and groats in a small saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat until the buckwheat darkens a bit and you get a fragrant nutty whiff. This will take only a few minutes.

Sprinkle vinegar and soy sauce over groats. Stir to combine well.

Spread groats in a shallow pan. Allow to cool and dry, about 15 minutes.

Hide them if you need them for later.

They store well on the counter, no special treatment needed.

What can I do with these savory little nuggets?

Eat out of hand.

Add to trail mix.

Top salads.

Sprinkle over veggies.

Your idea here ____________ .

“Eat more buckwheat!”

Update 1-26-10 This recipe was submitted to Amy Green’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Be sure to hike over there and add you best recipe.