Gullible

Here are two plants, and their fruit, from my herb garden.

Specimen #1 clears the brick edging by a few inches.

Specimen #2 reaches to my waist.

Specimen #1 has fruit with light yellow, papery husks. Specimen #2’s fruit have soft green husks with purple stripes.

Open the husks. Are they the same? Nope. Small, yellow fruit with dry skin versus large, green fruit with sticky coating.

Here they are all nudie. The little one is a ground cherry — ‘Aunt Molly’s’ ground cherry, to be exact. The big one is a tomatillo.

So why did I tell E.g.’s cousin, when we had a family party chez nous two weeks ago, that both plants were ground cherries?

Because I thought they were.

And why on earth would I think that, when the plants are so obviously different?

Because they came from the same seed packet, a business-card-sized manilla envelope with a sticker that says “Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries” on it, from a small mail-order company in Quebec. Not surprisingly, this company also sells tomatillo seeds.

Does Turtle believe everything she reads? Maybe sometimes.

It took some ‘net surfing before I was sure about the tomatillos. Surprised? Yep. Feeling foolish? Yepper.

But that’s okay; the one we’ve eaten so far made a tasty addition to our movie night refried-bean dip.

10 Responses to Gullible

  1. eyegillian says:

    Specimen #1: yummy
    Specimen #2: yummy
    The two-for-one surprise works for me!

  2. Jayne says:

    You’re the 4th person this week to mention tomatillos, I think the universe is telling me to plant some!

  3. Alyson says:

    Oooh WHAT do they taste like?

  4. lavenderbay says:

    Maybe we should save one of those big green ones and extract the seeds for next year, Eyegillian?

    They’re straightforward to grow, Jayne, and the plants are pretty enough if a bit sprawly. You’ll need more than one plant for the fairies to pollinate: my herb garden contains three, two with fruit and the third all flowers. In our Zone 5 climate, we had to start the seeds indoors, but maybe you can direct-sow?

    The ground cherries are mildly sweet, Alyson, and the tomatillos are mildly tart. The most widely-used (pilfered?) Internet description of ground cherries’ taste is that of pineapple, although every time I pop one in my mouth, I get the distinct impression of peanut butter!

  5. Ground cherry, not ground cherry … tomato, tomatillo.

  6. lavenderbay says:

    Well, they are both Physalis species, James. And they do, I think, come from the land of potaytopotahtoes itself.

  7. livingisdetail says:

    They are very pretty in their ‘lantern’covers. Well, they look to me like lanterns. I have never tasted either of them. The refried beans also look delicious and for a moment I thought the green bits were big slices of jalapeno chilli.

  8. S. Le says:

    Husband’s father loves ground cherry pie! I say “ewww…!” They are lovely to look at though, especially whilst “under cover.”

  9. Hmmm. Peanut butter or pineapple. I can see where you would confuse the two….

    I’ve never tried either one. Maybe next year…

  10. lavenderbay says:

    Ooo, they do look like jalapenos, Livingisdetail! Nearly midnight, and suddenly I’m hungry…
    Another relative of these two plants is commonly called “Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengii); it has lovely orange husks. My photos don’t show it well, but I think the tomatillo husks look like hot-air balloons.

    We haven’t managed to gather enough ground cherries to make a pie yet, S. Le, ’cause we eat ’em as soon as they fall off the plants, so my jury is still out on the cooked version.

    Well, yeah, Barefootheart, seeing as both tastes start with the same letter…
    They were pretty easy to grow; the only mistake I made was to plant the seedlings where the dogs could romp through them and break half of them before I moved the rest to safer ground!

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