Giant ground cherries existed!

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Shule
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Giant ground cherries existed!

#1

Post: # 67665Unread post Shule
Tue Apr 12, 2022 9:35 pm

Take a look at this.

Apparently, there were once ground cherries up to an amazing two inches in diameter that tasted similar to strawberries.

I think the biggest one I've seen in modern times was about a half an inch in diameter.

Other things I've seen on Google Books suggest that ground cherries were more popular back then.
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Mark_Thompson
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#2

Post: # 67676Unread post Mark_Thompson
Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:52 am

Damn, I want them. How do we Jurassic Park those back into existence?
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Shule
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#3

Post: # 67677Unread post Shule
Wed Apr 13, 2022 2:09 am

Oh, wait. Maybe they do still exist.

I remember something I read in the past that I forgot. Apparently, some (not all) varieties of Physalis peruviana can get up to two inches. I still haven't seen one that big, though! (Not even a picture.)

https://www.britannica.com/plant/Cape-gooseberry

I've grown that species before, but not the kind that gets that big. It was more difficult to grow than Physalis pruinosa (they weren't early, at least), but had nice-looking, big plants with nice soft leaves. The fruit I got was really interesting (but small). I grew the kind that grows tall, from Baker Creek.

I'm not sure if the kind that gets up to 2" is still around (but it's still talked about).
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#4

Post: # 67680Unread post Mark_Thompson
Wed Apr 13, 2022 4:25 am

That’s the one that grows wild here, we call it poha, but definitely never seen anything over an inch, and definitely never two.
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worth1
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#5

Post: # 67684Unread post worth1
Wed Apr 13, 2022 5:54 am

We had wild ground cherries in Oklahoma.
Some people ate them.
Not me, I was petrified of dieing a horrible death.
They are probably wild in Texas too but again not interested..
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#6

Post: # 67694Unread post Tormato
Wed Apr 13, 2022 8:11 am

Has anyone checked the ars-grin collection for the possibility of large ones?
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#7

Post: # 67734Unread post Toomanymatoes
Wed Apr 13, 2022 3:04 pm

I happen to be growing a variety called Giant Groundcherry this year. Vendor indicates they are only 1" in diameter though. I will keep you informed!
Mark_Thompson wrote: Wed Apr 13, 2022 4:25 am That’s the one that grows wild here, we call it poha, but definitely never seen anything over an inch, and definitely never two.
I am only growing two types and the other one happens to be Poha.

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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#8

Post: # 67751Unread post karstopography
Wed Apr 13, 2022 9:33 pm

They are wild here in Brazoria county. I saw some late in summer last year while foraging for Chanterelles, beautyberries and maypop. I didn’t pay attention to how big the ground cherries were. I didn’t gather any. They look like tomatillos. I don’t know what to do with ground cherries. I’ll look for them again this summer. If they are extra big, I’ll take note.
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Shule
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#9

Post: # 67752Unread post Shule
Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:05 pm

@karstopography
Thanks. I'd be glad to hear of the results. :)

If they're an edible kind, they make a great fresh snack after they fall off the vine (don't pick them off the plant; those aren't ripe). Some wild kinds may be toxic even when ripe, though; I'm not sure how you tell the difference between the toxic-when-ripe and non-toxic-when-ripe kinds. I hear some people make pies out of ground cherries (probably preserves, too). Apparently, they make a good snack when dried in sugar like raisins or figs (according to that old catalog).

They're pretty good frozen.

They're all toxic when unripe, however.

Unlike tomatillos, ground cherries don't break open the husk when they ripen (so, you don't need to look for that). However, it's possible that a giant ground cherry might (as most people have probably never seen one to find out).
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#10

Post: # 67763Unread post Setec Astronomy
Thu Apr 14, 2022 7:31 am

Shule wrote: Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:05 pmThey're all toxic when unripe, however.
Is this really true? I've eaten plenty of green ones that my better half won't eat, and I'm not dead...not sure my brain isn't addled, but that might just be garden fever. We wind up with green ones when a storm or disease stress causes them to fall off the plant before they are ripe, and of course ground cherries don't ripen off the plant.

But seriously, all this nightshade family stuff is considered toxic, isn't it?
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Re: Giant ground cherries existed!

#11

Post: # 67766Unread post karstopography
Thu Apr 14, 2022 8:35 am

Yes, most vegetables have naturally produced by the plants themselves toxins in them, as defense mechanisms to protect the plants from attack. Billions, including myself, enjoy their daily dose of toxic alkaloid caffeine to stimulate their brains and bodies for the day ahead. The ld/50 on caffeine is around 300mg/kg body weight. So in theory, a single dose of about 15 grams of caffeine would kill half the people consuming that dose and weighing roughly 100 pounds. Another 15 grams all at once would take out the 200 pounders.

Solanine, found in the nightshade family like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and ground cherries, Ld/50 is around 5mg/kg, so quite a bit more toxic than caffeine or nicotine, ld/50 on that is in the 50s mg/kg.

How much solanine is actually found in unripe ground cherries, or tomatoes for that matter, good luck finding out that number.
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