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Marissa Lingen

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Ripe [Aug. 2nd, 2011|01:43 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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I feel like I am finally through a revision logjam, having moved a major plot point substantially forward in the book in question, so hurrah for me, or it, or something. But I don't really want to talk about that.

I want to tell you about ground tomatoes! porphyrin gave us a plant of them, and they are now coming ripe. They are the strangest little things. They're the size of a large blueberry perhaps, and they have little papery husks like tomatillos, and I'm hard-pressed to say what they taste like. Not really much like tomatoes, at least not the ones I've had so far. Sort of like a combination of tomatillos and some sort of berries? Perhaps? They're apparently also called husk tomatoes or ground cherries. Anyway, if you get the opportunity, do try these weird little things.

markgritter said, "I don't know what we're going to do with them," and my immediate answer was, "Eat them." Although I may try making a salsa fresca with them for on fish also. Hard to say how many we'll get, since we've never grown one before. Then again, a weird chunky puree might also do for a jam tart with them. I am pleased to have a nearby supply, though, particularly as the blueberry bush is not producing much this year.

[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2011-08-02 07:33 pm (UTC)
I bought a pint of these at a farmer's market last year. They tasted good, but weren't what I expected -- i.e. they weren't sweet nor were they really tomato-y. Interesting flavour, though. Probably best as a garnish, I think.
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[User Picture]From: matociquala
2011-08-02 08:18 pm (UTC)

They taste like butterscotch, to me.
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[User Picture]From: caoilfhionn
2011-08-02 08:33 pm (UTC)
Hurrah for ground cherries! They're actually related to tomatillos, a fact I looked up because the first time I bought tomatillos I thought, "hey, these are like huge ground cherries." My grandmother grew them for years and years and made a mild jam out of them. But mostly they were the thing the kids were allowed to raid from the garden without asking first.

If you do try the salsa fresca, please post a report! I think it sounds like an excellent use for them.
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[User Picture]From: merriehaskell
2011-08-02 10:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I fell in love with those in Scotland on my honeymoon! And when I went back a few years later, I went to a grocery store and bought a whole pint. They are fun and yummy.
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2011-08-03 09:45 am (UTC)
Oh, physalis! At least, I think they're mainly called that over here. Ground cherries occasionally, or chinese gooseberries, unless they're something else again. Actually, in my experience, they're called "Am I supposed to eat that or is it just a garnish?", as they tend to get used in restaurants to make desserts look interesting. If you were expecting it to taste like tomato, maybe you've got a more savoury variety, though.

In my experience, they have a mild, slightly sweet and slightly exotic (by which I mean 'reminds me vaguely of pineapples and lychees (those being exotic for me) but doesn't taste quite like them') flavour, and are good half-dipped in chocolate, or served in ones and twos to complement something cold and rich and sweet. I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to do anything with lots at a time, though, so can't really help there. A savoury salsa seems like it might work if the other flavours aren't too bold or too acidic but it's not something I'd thought of before.
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2011-08-03 10:04 am (UTC)
Also, if yours are the size of a large blueberry, they are either smaller than mine (not homegrown) or your blueberries are larger (these are homegrown, but I don't think the shop ones are all that much bigger). I'd expect a physalis to be, um, about 1.5-2 cm diameter, maybe? Small cherry, rather than large blueberry.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-08-03 11:45 am (UTC)
We never get cherries this small here. Blueberries here vary substantially. The ones on our actual bush are teeny, but the ones from the grocery store are often substantially larger.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-08-03 11:45 am (UTC)
The thing that I have heard Chinese gooseberries is what we call kiwi fruit. The kiwi fruit has a fuzzy brown skin rather than a papery husk, and the innards can be either yellow or green. The physalis pictures look like exactly what's growing in my garden, though.

I was only expecting it to taste of tomato because it's called ground tomato sometimes, and that's what the person who gave us the plant called it. I think it's not any more savory. The kind of salsa I meant is roughly similar to something I would make with peach or mango.
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2011-08-03 12:39 pm (UTC)
I'm probably wrong about the Chinese gooseberry, then, especially as a physalis doesn't look anything like a gooseberry and a kiwi is at least green (well, on the inside) and hairy.

I'd never heard it called a ground tomato, so I hadn't really thought to compare the relative sweetness/savouriness of physalis and tomatoes. I would probably say that the physalis I've tasted were sweeter (only marginally sweeter than a really sweet cherry tomato, though) and considerably less acidic. The wikipedia page seems to suggest that physalis can be more acidic, though, if that's what they mean by 'refreshing' which isn't a word I'd really thought to appy to physalis.

I've never had peach or mango salsa, but if I try to imagine the flavours it feels like it should work quite well, although it'd be quieter, I imagine.
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[User Picture]From: hbevert
2011-08-04 11:25 pm (UTC)
Ooh, yum, ground cherries! They show up in large quantities at the local farmer's markets here in late summer. At the restaurant where I worked in Calgary, they were often used as a dessert garnish for things that were sweet and creamy (custard, cheesecake, etc.) Up there, the things were just called "gooseberry," which confused me at first because I know gooseberries as being stripedy round berries w/o husks from a little thorny bush.
Salsa with them sounds really nice. I'd also recommend adding them, halved, to any kind of salad that tastes good w/sweet things in it. I wonder if they'd make a good variation on gazpacho? The orange color would be brilliant!
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[User Picture]From: wild_irises
2011-08-05 04:36 am (UTC)
All I could think until I kept reading was "they aren't dry enough to grind"!
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