Husk Cherries

We were wary and precious. We put the husk cherries from the Farmer’s Market in an airtight plastic tub and waited for the right moment to use them. First we made risotto, topped with grilled heirloom tomatoes and 10 tiny husk cherries each on the side, sliced in half but otherwise left alone to compliment the risotto. The slightly tart, slightly sweet husk cherries cut through the musky mushrooms and cheese perfectly. It was fabulous. And then we waited again.

Something horrible has now happened to them. Fruit flies have bored their way through the sides of the plastic tub (or, more plausibly had already buried their larvae in the paper of the husks). The husk cherries will be tossed as soon as I can take a photograph of them. I think they have also started to rot. Food does not, and will not, wait. In cooking, as in art making, you must rely on impulse and forge ahead. I leave you with my dream recipes. None have been attempted.

  • husk cherry and lime zest sorbet, (possibly topped with crumbled pistachios)
  • grilled steak, topped with shaved parmesan, flat parsley, and sliced husk cherries
  • something boozy with a bit of husk cherry juice. Gin? Pepper vodka? Gin, St. Germain, prosecco, and husk cherry juice? I’ve never experimented much with making cocktails so these have a high chance of being vile. Maybe just add some to a Pimms Cup.
  • husk cherry jelly, with red pepper flakes. In my opinion, when in doubt add red pepper flakes, even if you’re making ice cream.

Oh, right. And what are they like?? . . . “well, you know when you first heard the awful, unbelievable truth that tomatoes were fruits? Husk cherries taste like that. Or perhaps sweet tomatillos. There is something unsettling in the fleshly, slightly salted, languorous squirt of flavor they emit as they receive their final unction.”  -W (my co-chef)