These "volunteer" ground cherries came up from our compost and are one of the surprise highlights of our first season on the farm. Some research revealed that they are in the same family as tomatoes and go by multiple names including winter cherries, cape gooseberries and strawberry tomatoes. They are high in pectin and were reportedly eaten by the Pilgrims as part of the autumn harvest. Surprisingly, the taste is more reminiscent of a pineapple that a tomato.
While dining at a "farm to table" restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA this summer, I was surprised when a few of these arrived with the check. Kudos to the chef for realizing that offering these sweet little treats (so beautifully wrapped) would be a fun and creative play on the traditional offering of mints.