Ground Cherries are siblings to tomatillos and cape gooseberries, and cousins of tomatoes. If you've grown them in the past you are well aware that under the correct conditions and tutelage from you, a bumper crop is easily obtained. I like eating them raw just as they are, or in salads, but at times there are just too many which is when I go into preserving mode.
Ground cherries make excellent preserves, jellies and jams and they can also be dried just like Sun Dried Tomatoes. They have their own unique flavor, a tad fruity, a hint of nuts and the familar tomatoey tinge. When dried some of these flavors become concentrated, they don't taste like sun dried tomaoes all that much, the texture is similar, they are unique.
To Sun Dry Ground Cherries
1. Remove the papery husk.
2. Rinse them and Cut them in halves. Drain the ground cherries slightly on paper towels.
3. Place them with the cut side facing up on a clean non-metallic tray. Metallic objects will react with the natural acids and produce undesirable results.
4. Cover the tray with cheesecloth or fine netting to keep the bugs and flying debris off.
5. Salt can be lightly sprinkled on the cut surface to expedite drying but is not absolutely necessary.
Next, you'll need Natures cooperation, several days of glowing warmth and sunshine, low humidity, and good air circulation. After several days of ideal weather the ground cherries should be well dried. They should have a leathery pliable texture and be a bit darker than when you started.
If you do not have the patience or perserverance to dry them the way our ancestors did, welcome to the 21st Century. They are also easily dried with an electric dehydrator which will maintain a steady reliable heat. Do not attempt to dehydrate your ground cherries or any fruit or vegetable for that matter using a microwave, it just doesn't work.
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