Forage Friday #128 Groundcherry

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Groundcherry 1001a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

⚠️ Additionally, I have not fully Identified the plant in tonight’s Feature Image. I’m pretty sure that it’s groundcherry but the image was taken with a telephoto lens and I was not able to take a sample for positive ID. If it is groundcherry it’s the first time I’ve encountered it and I never consume any plants until I’ve had a chance to get a positive ID. So while the information in the article will be accurate the photo is my best guess on the ID.

While scanning the underbrush through my long lens for interesting insects and any other subjects that may be lurking beneath the tangled vines and stems I recognized a fruit body that so far I’ve only encountered in books. The papery shell of a groundcherry. Now this excited me somewhat because it’s not really plentiful in my area. At one time long ago it was popular among Native Americans who I believe were masters of land management. They cultivated the earth in such a way as to work so closely with nature that a cultivated plant blended into the wilderness. Their methods were so efficient that for generations after Columbus and eventually The Long Walk their little patches continued to produce and self sew. At least that’s my theory anyway.

Groundcherry is a relative of tomatoes and tomatillo and has a tomato-like berry under that papery sheath. The ones that I’ve seen in books and on the internet are yellow and more spherical than a tomato in addition to being much smaller than a modern tomato. The flavor is said to be much like a tomatillo.

Again, I should emphasize that there’s a lot of guesswork in tonight’s article. With that said, my presumption is that groundcherry would be good in salsas, pies and preserves.

In addition to the standard range of vitamins groundcherry is a source of anti-inflammatory agents that are believed to assist in fighting certain cancers. However, only the ripe berries are edible. The leaves, stems and unripe fruit are considered toxic and being a member of the nightshade family that is to be expected. So how do we know that it’s fully ripe? Well, it picks itself. The berries drop off the stems when they’re ready to be eaten. So the best way to harvest them is check the plants daily and simply pick up the berries.

I’m still learning about groundcherry myself and I don’t really know how many dangerous lookalikes are out there. The main one that I am familiar with is horse nettles. Unlike groundcherry hose nettles are covered in thorns and the yellow ball shaped fruit isn’t covered by a sheath. So if the plant has thorns it’s not groundcherry.

Another one is Chinese lantern. Again I don’t have first hand knowledge of Chinese lantern but from what I’ve found it has a red sheath where groundcherry is yellow.

That’s it for tonight’s #foragefriday! I’m certain that a lot of people are more familiar with this one than I am so please feel free to share your knowledge in the comments. I really want to learn from your experience.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

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