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Seed to Berry in One Season

Submitted by: runningtrails on August 12, 2010
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Seed to Berry in One Season

We have two different and new fruits this year, ground cherries and chichiquelites. Both of these fruits grow from seed to harvested fruit in one season! Both fruits are delicious in pies and jellies and I am also hoping they will make great wines, as well.

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Chichiquelites.

I am amazed …

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We have two different and new fruits this year, ground cherries and chichiquelites. Both of these fruits grow from seed to harvested fruit in one season! Both fruits are delicious in pies and jellies and I am also hoping they will make great wines, as well.


Chichiquelites.

I am amazed at the amount produced by both of these fruits. The ground cherries were the first to ripen. They are sweet and delicious right off the plant. We eat them in salads and cereals or just by the handful out of the bowl. Some of them are still slightly green after falling off but they will ripen off the plant while sitting out on the counter. It’s important to wait until they are no longer green before eating them as the flavor changes a great deal when they ripen.

Ground cherries.

Chichiquelites are little berries also known as “Garden Huckleberries” (Solanum nigrum). They resemble the small wild blueberries but without the flavor of the fresh berry. Chichiquelites do have sweetness and flavor, but only when they are fully ripe. Just black and shiny is not ripe enough. You have to wait for them to get dull and a bit softer, then they are very good raw.

The best way to pick chichiquelites at the peak of ripeness is to pick by cluster, rather than berry. If the entire cluster is black, pick them. If there are a few green berries still in the cluster, leave them until they are all ripe. This is the rule of thumb that I have been using and they are very good. They are not bitter or bad-tasting when they are not ripe enough–there’s just not much flavor there until they are cooked down.

These little gems really come into their own when they are cooked. When cooked down with sugar, they do resemble blueberries in both taste and appearance. They have the same dark purple color and will probably make excellent organic soap color, if we don’t eat them all. They produce a lot for such a small space and short time.

I do have other berry bushes in my berry and wine garden, but they take years to produce. I needed something that would produce fruit immediately. I got that with the chichiquelites and ground cherries and I am very happy with them both. I have not yet made pie with the ground cherries but intend to do so soon.

Do remember to save seeds for planting next year. I saved a lot of chichiquelite seed for this purpose. We’ll be planting many more next year than we did this year. I now have an envelope full of dried chichiquelite seed for next year! I will also be saving ground cherry seeds.

This being our first year to grow them, I had to test the chichiquelites out in a pastry. I used some bits of leftover pastry from a previous pie baking last week to make these two little turnovers. Hubby and son pronounced them “fantastic” and “delicious!” They were shocked and pleased that we grew these berries ourselves this year. I will be making some chichiquelite jelly soon, too.

We will definitely plant chichiquelites and ground cherries again next year! How about you?


You can also find Sheryl at Providence Acres.

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Comments

9 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 8-12
    2:44
    am

    Wow. We grow a lot of different kinds of berries here, and I even have a book on berries, but I don’t remember seeing this kind ever. Those turnovers look amazing!

  2. 8-12
    6:43
    am

    WOW!!! In one season! I can’t wait for next year to roll around….I’m going to have my own berries!

  3. 8-12
    8:57
    am

    Do these berries grow in all of the planting zones here in the states? I have never tasted either of these. I have seen the ground cherries. I’ll have to check out Baker’s Creek.
    Do you ever mix the berries with other berries for a pie or jelly or jams?

  4. 8-12
    9:07
    am

    I have never heard of these. I’ll definitely be looking into growing them. Thanks for the post!

  5. 8-12
    10:17
    am

    I’m so excited about growing berries you can have the first season. After reading about the chichiquelites on your blog, I searched the internet and found lots of info. I want to grow both chichiquelites and the ground cherries. Could you please advise me of the name (type) of the ground cherry you think is best? We had a variety of ground cherry that was pinkish, but the pit was so big that there was hardly any fruit to do anything with.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’d prefer to use tried and true plants to experimenting on my own.

  6. 8-12
    10:27
    am

    I have heard of ground cherries but never chichiquelites. I shall have to try and see if I can grow them. I do have young blueberry bushes and we got a handful of blueberries from them after just planting them last year.

  7. 8-12
    1:23
    pm

    I have about 10-12 chichiquelite plants and I have been getting about a gallon of berries every 2-3 days since they began to ripen, with LOTS of green ones left to go.

    I think Aunt Molly’s ground cherries are the best ones with the biggest fruit. They don’t have pits, just small seeds that are not really noticed when eaten. I have made turnovers with the ground cherries too and thought they tasted like peach turnovers.

    You are right, they are better if you leave them to ripen on the counter for a week or two.

    Ground cherries are closely related to and look a lot like tomatillos when they are growing but don’t taste the same.

    Baker Creek sales them too but were sold out early last year.

    I will have a berry combo seed package for sale in the farm store I am opening in November. It will have seeds for both of these.

  8. 7-17
    1:06
    pm

    Hi, Sheryl
    I ordered your ground cherry seeds and huckleberry seeds last winter and planted this spring. I have huckleberries coming on, haven’t checked my ground cherries but they were blooming a couple of weeks ago (injured foot and couldn’t see them). I am soooo excited to have these and can’t wait to bake with them.
    Your turnovers look awesome. thanks for all your tips.
    Cindy P.

  9. 7-17
    3:20
    pm

    I’m glad they’re doing well for you! They grow very easily and reseed well too for next year!

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