Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ew, Ew, Ew, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

This year, I decided to grow ground cherries in my garden. There is some technical name for them but I have forgotten. I chose to do this because a few years ago, someone had the plants for sale at the farmer's market and it looked interesting. Though the fruit was not yet ripe, she explained that they grow in sort of a pod/husk thing like this.

Then, when they fall on the ground (thus ground cherries), the husk with be papery and brown and you just open them and pop them in your mouth. They have a citrusy sort of taste, she said. This is what they look like when you open the husk.

They turn an orange sort of color and look like a tiny cherry tomato, like this. About the size of a marble.

How fun, I thought, to have a little paper bag for these little fruits. I'll just open the husk and "pop" them right into my mouth. This is what it looked like when I popped one in.

I wonder if I can describe the experience. I found all sorts of them on the ground, under the plant. I picked one up, removed the papery husk and thought "I don't even have to wash it since it's been in this husk the whole time." I popped it right in my mouth. First, I couldn't really bite into it. It was kind of like biting into one of those little rubber balls you use to play Jacks (remember that?). It was kind of a rubber ball feeling. You know when you eat a grape and there's that nice crisp burst as you eat it? Yeah, this didn't do that. But, I was determined to taste citrus from my very own garden, so I persevered. And then I tasted the citrus. Covered by foul. I do mean foul. It was like chicken grease meets citrus meets tomato.

In case that one was just a bad one, I tried another. Same thing. I couldn't even finish chewing, I just spit it out right there. And then I had to try just one more because it might have been that they were bad. No, they just taste awful. I have read that the taste is "different". Yes, it sure is. I have read that you can make a jelly. Why on earth would you go through all of that effort?

Therefore, I will never grow ground cherries again. I have a million of them on this one plant. I'm going to be THAT person running around to everyone going "Hey, taste THIS" and everyone will run from me in fear. They are like little balls of duck a l'orange growing in the garden with a texture that you can only discover by trying it yourself. But I hardly recommend it.

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