Ground Cherry

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

ground cherry a name applied to various plants of the genus Physalis, which bear fruits about the size of a cherry in a papery husk or calyx (like the cape gooseberry). There are many in N. America, where they were eaten extensively by N. American Indians, and where the culinary writers Cora, Rose, and Bob Brown (1938) summed them up thus:

There’s a lot of confusion about these homely little bundles of luscious flavor that grow about the size of cranberries, each enclosed in a tissue husk that looks like a Chinese lantern. Some say they taste like cherries, others like tomatoes. We’ve eaten them ever since we were kids and don’t yet know which they resemble most. When preserved in syrup they taste like figs.