The transition from light summer frocks to fall sweaters can be disheartening. Make it easier on yourself with this ground cherry jam without pectin with hints of citrus and ginger, a perfect ode to fall.
Transitioning from light summer dresses to cozy fall sweaters can be a bit disheartening. However, I find solace in savoring the flavors that this season has to offer. One way to enjoy autumn is by making ground cherry preserves with a touch of citrus and ginger, creating a perfect harmony of fall flavors.
The Peruvian ground cherry, known as Quebec's most unusual fruit, pairs wonderfully with the boldness of ginger and the zestiness of lemon and lime. This delectable jam turns the season into a culinary celebration, allowing us to embrace the change with open arms and excited taste buds.
The Magical Fall of Montreal
I have been hearing about Montreal’s fall from before I even moved here.
You would think that with all the summer excitement of festivals, drinking sangria on patios, and nights too hot for a blanket, people wouldn’t be clamouring for what is basically the equivalent of a calendar layover everywhere else.
But now that October is about to begin and fall is in the air, I couldn’t be more excited for the changing season. I am breathlessly anticipating the falling leaves, strong gusts of winds, and woolen socks.
But the thing that is most on my mind as the temperatures dip down is a bright, punchy jam, smeared thickly on crusty bread and eaten with a steaming cup of tea in bed, crumbs be damned.
And with Quebec’s bounty of ground cherries (cerises de terre) still crowding the stalls at the farmers’ markets, honouring this in-between season couldn’t be easier.
What are Ground Cherries?
As a fruit lover, I frequently explore different fruits to enjoy, and one of my recent favorites is ground cherries. These small, yellow-orange fruits are enclosed in a delicate, papery husk that resembles a lantern. Ground cherries belong to the same family as tomatillos – the nightshade family – and share a similar taste, a blend of sweet and tart. They are also known as Cape gooseberries, goldenberries, or husk cherries.
Here are some key features of ground cherries:
- Scientific Name: Physalis peruviana
- Size: About the size of a cherry tomato (0.5-1 inch in diameter)
- Color: Yellow-orange when ripe
- Taste: Sweet and tart, with notes of pineapple, vanilla, and tomato
Ground cherries can be eaten raw or used in various dishes, such as salads, desserts, or sauces. They also possess numerous vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. One of the delicious ways to enjoy ground cherries is by making ground cherry jam, which captures their unique flavor and can be enjoyed year-round.
Ingredients for Ground Cherry Preserves
- Ground cherries: a fruit that is similar in taste to a mix of pineapple, mango, and tomato. If ground cherries are not available, they can be substituted with a mix of pineapple, mango, and tomato.
- Sugar: a sweetener that can be substituted with honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar.
- Lemon juice and zest: a sour flavoring agent that can be substituted with lime juice or vinegar.
- Lime juice: a sour flavoring agent that can be substituted with lemon juice or vinegar.
- Ginger: a spice with a warm, slightly sweet flavor that can be substituted with ground ginger or fresh turmeric.
- Star anise: a spice with a licorice-like flavor that can be substituted with anise or fennel seed.
- Salt is a seasoning that can be substituted with any other salt or seasoning you choose.
- Jars: containers to store the final product.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Sanitize jars for canning:
If canning the jam, wash jars and place them in a hot water bath canner. Boil for 10 minutes.
Prep ground cherries:
Remove husks from ground cherries and dispose of any bruised or damaged fruit. Wash the cherries.
Grate ginger, zest and juice lemon, and juice lime. Combine lemon and lime juices.
Cook ground cherry jam:
In a heavy-bottomed pot, mix ground cherries, sugar, lemon zest, and citrus juices. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the jam remains very liquid, continue cooking for up to 20 minutes more.
During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add star anise and grated ginger to the pot. Once the jam has finished cooking, remove the pot from heat.
Divide jam into jars:
To jar the jam, pour it into clean, sterilized jars carefully using a ladle. Wipe the jar rims with a wet towel. If you plan to store the jam in the fridge, seal the jars, let them cool, and refrigerate. The jam can be enjoyed with cheese, charcuterie, or on toast.
Process jars for canning:
If you plan to can the jam, place the metal jar lids in hot water for a few minutes. Then, seal the jars and process them in a hot water bath canner for another 10 minutes. Finally, let the jars cool for 24 hours, listening for 'pop' sounds.
What to Pair With Ground Cherry Jam?
Ground Cherry Jam is replete with strong Asian spices that fair well against the warm, exotic flavour of the ground cherries.
I love it paired with:
- goat cheese;
- a strong blue Stilton;
- A washed rind cheese like Brie or Camembert;
- Cultured butter;
- Pork or other strong charcuterie;
- Pan-seared duck, especially Asian-style;
- Cream cheese;
- Walnuts and other nuts.
Making Ground Cherry Jam with Pectin
To make ground cherry jam with pectin, follow these steps:
- Wash and prepare ground cherries by removing the husks.
- Combine ground cherries, pectin, and sugar in a large saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- Once boiling, remove from heat and skim off any foam.
- Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Ground Cherry Freezer Jam Recipe
To make ground cherry freezer jam, use these ingredients:
- 4 cups husked ground cherries
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 package (1.75 oz) of powdered fruit pectin
Follow the steps in the "Making Ground Cherry Jam with Pectin" section, but instead of pouring your jam into sterilized jars, let it cool and then transfer it to freezer-safe containers. Store it in the freezer until ready to use.
The texture of this jam will be more like ground cherry jelly - a lot more set and less liquid.
Ground Cherry Pineapple Jam
Ground cherry pineapple jam is made by combining equal parts ground cherries and pineapple chunks in a saucepan, along with sugar and pectin. Follow the same procedure as in the "Making Ground Cherry Jam with Pectin" section for a delicious tropical twist on your jam.
Yes, you can substitute honey for sugar in ground cherry jam. For best results, use about ¾ cup of honey for every 1 cup of sugar in the recipe. This will provide a similar sweetness level while adding a unique flavor to your jam. Keep in mind that jam made with honey will be more loose.
More Preserves & Canning Recipes:You must use the category slug, not a URL, in the category field.
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Ground cherry jam
- Kitchen towels
- paper towels
- 2 lb ground cherries peeled and washed (you should have about 1.5 lbs left after removing the husks and throwing out any inedible fruit)
- 2.5 cups sugar
- 1 lemon juice and zest of
- 1 lime juice of
- 3- inch knob of ginger grated
- 2 star anise pieces
- 1 pinch salt about ½ tsp
- 2 pint-sized jars
- If canning, thoroughly wash jars and arrange them in a hot water bath canner. Bring pot with jars to a boil, and process on a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove the husks from all of your ground cherries, throwing out any fruit with black spots or mold. Wash fruit carefully.
- Grate ginger, zest lemon, and juice both the lemon and lime. Set ginger aside, but feel free to combine the lemon and lime juices.
- Combine ground cherries, sugar, lemon zest and the citrus juice in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring pot to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium and continue simmering until all the ground cherries have burst and dissolved, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally (your whole house will smell like a confectioner’s shop). If the jam remains very liquid, continue cooking for up to 20 minutes more.
- In the last 10 minutes, add whole star anise and ground ginger to pot. Remove pot from heat.
- Very carefully (and preferably using a ladle), pour jam into clean, prepared (and sterilized, if canning) jars. Wipe the rims with a wet towel.
- If jam is to be kept in the fridge, just close the lids and let it cool down on the counter. It will thicken further in the fridge. Enjoy on crackers with (very) sharp cheddar, on baguette with goat cheese, along with a charcuterie platter, or just with peanut butter on toast.
- If canning, ladle some boiling hot water from the hot water bath canner into a small saucepan, and sink the new metal lids for the jars into it (no need to soak the rings that secure the lids). After a couple of minutes, place the metal lids on the jars and secure with the rings, using just the tips of two fingers to screw them down (i.e., don’t fight to screw them on thoroughly). Lower jars back into hot water bath canner (you may need to pour out some water at this point), and process at a rolling boil for another 10 minutes. Remove jars from pot and let cool on counter for 24 hours, waiting for the all-important ‘pop’ sounds.
Welcome to At The Immigrant's Table! I blend my immigrant roots with modern diets, crafting recipes that take you on a global kitchen adventure. As a food blogger and photographer, I'm dedicated to making international cuisine both healthy and accessible. Let's embark on a culinary journey that bridges cultures and introduces a world of flavors right into your home. Read more...