Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kid Friendly Ground Cherries

Are you looking for veggies that are kid friendly to add to your garden?  Here is one that is perfect for the kiddos...Ground Cherries!  There are a few varieties such as the heirloom "Aunt Mollies" or newer "Pineapple" ground cherry and though it looks like a miniature tomatillo it tastes a lot different and makes a sweet treat for little ones in the garden.  Here let me show you.

What could be more perfect than a fruit that falls to the ground when ripe and is protected by its own little paper husk?  No worries about if its not ripe.  It tells the kids when its ready for them to eat!

They just pick one up off the ground, peel back the protective husk which also makes a handy little handle...

Gold means they are sweet and ready to eat.
and bite or pull the fruit off the husk with no mess, no fuss and toss the husk on the ground.

Saving seeds from them is easy too!

Light reveals the little seeds inside the Ground Cherries.
Smashing the fruit gets seeds on your fingers, a little water will rinse off into the bowl.
Water helps separate the seed from the flesh of the fruit.  Pick out large pieces first.
Seed is washed clean with a couple of careful rinses...don't pour water off too fast or seeds will wash away too.
Inexpensive coffee filters help quickly dry seeds for storage

The seeds tend to stick to the filter a little bit when they are finally dry and can be unstuck by lightly scratching them with one's fingernail.  Then all that is needed is to pour the dry seed into an envelope or small container for storing.

Ground cherries self sow like cherry tomatoes do so if you leave fruit on the ground it will produce some seedlings for you.  Personally I like plants that self sowing...its simple, just let nature takes it's course and there will have plants with no labor...save maybe transplanting the seedlings if needed.

So if you have a friend who has them ask for some fruit to save seeds from or if you need to purchase seed,
Nichol's Garden Nursery, Territorial Seed Company, and Baker Creek all sell seeds for this sweet little plant so plan on adding them to your garden for the kiddo's next year.

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