This blog is rapidly becoming a foodie blog. I haven't even been posting mixed drinks the way I expected, let alone anything about my graduate program. But, this is one of my fall favorites and now that it's in season I thought I would share it.

Ground cherries are a relative of the tomato and tomatillo, but they are sweet and non-acidic. They don't taste like cherries, more like a burst of sugar and warm flavors without much tartness. They have a bit of mango and pineapple in there, but the taste is much more earthy. They are a bit vegetal, which turns some people off. Every year my grandmother eats a couple while telling me, "I'm just not sure I like them very much," which I think is kindof funny in an endearing way.

Ground cherries were once a staple of the American garden and there are numerous recipes for ground cherry pie online, along with many others. They apparently grow like weeds, much like their inedible cousin the chinese lantern, which made them a good choice for people who relied on their gardens for food. I planted a few of the fruit this year so we'll see in the spring how they grow. My favorite recipe, and one I haven't seen online, is to dip them in chocolate. With the husk pulled back into a little papery shuttlecock it makes an ideal way both to dip them and to eat them as finger food, not to mention that it's a really attractive looking dish that always gets comments.

Preparation couldn't be easier. Carefully peel back the husk and pull it backwards. It will naturally fold into a little tail. They are attached to the berry pretty tightly so they won't pull off too easily. The best berries are the ones that are golden in color. The greenish ones (as long as they aren't too green) are also sweet but have more planty taste.

Melt some chocolate in a double boiler. Really dark chocolate tastes best, it adds the right bitterness to fill in the profile. Ground cherries don't have a whole lot of complex flavor, so it's nice to have that bold bitterness of dark chocolate to fill things in. I could also imagine that orange infused chocolate like Alter Eco Dark Twist would be pretty amazing. If you haven't tried Alter Eco chocolate yet you are missing out, it's just incredibly flavorful and some of the best chocolate I've had. If you want the chocolate to look shiny you need to add some paraffin to the melted chocolate, otherwise it cools to a matte brown. The pictures here are of two batches, one with a bit of paraffin and one without.

 Once the chocolate is melted start dipping the ground cherries in. Putting them on the shiny side of aluminum foil will make it easier to get them off, the chocolate tends to stick down hard on a plate. You can peel them off and put them on a plate later. Put them in the fridge to cool, or just leave them out to cool. Once the chocolate is hard it's ready to eat!

Have fun.