I was recently blessed with a super secret CSA share containing some Children-of-Man tomatoes and the most wondrous food on earth: ground cherries. These little mini-tomatillo looking things taste like creamy cantelopes, and pop in your mouth with a subtle delicious flavor.
These bring up a consistent problem in my life. Whenever I am lucky enough to have something unique and special, I tend to protect it to a fault. I am afraid to indulge in too many of the ground cherries at one time, I would rather save them to have more at a later date.
The first time I canned tomatoes, it took a big bagful to make a quart of sauce. This sauce sat in the basement, unopened, until June of the following year. It was only when I was promised with the imminent harvest of new tomatoes was I free to open the jar. And once it was opened? I made a delicious meal with some homemade orecchiette, using maybe 8 ounces of the quart. But then, I got busy, and didn’t have a chance to make more hand-rolled pasta. And my sauce, my precious sauce, wasn’t worthy of just dumping on box noodles. Before too long, I had to revisit the harrowing question of whether it is safe to scrape off the mold and eat the rest (which it is not). Because of my inaction, I had to flush over half a quart of dense, rich homemade tomato sauce, which had been too good to eat.
I remember the horror I tried to conceal on my face when a friend dumped an ice cube into a glass of wine that I had opened, almost a year after bringing it home from the maker’s villa in Italy. She saw right through me. “It’s just wine, dude. You can get another bottle.” And yet, I don’t remember the name of the villa, or even the town. I do remember the ice cube, and the laugh that we shared when I was busted oversentimentalizing fermented grape juice.
I’m probably going to finish the ground cherries tonight, or maybe tomorrow. It’s not worth the trouble of canning the few I have left, and if I did the jar would become an heirloom, and not something to be enjoyed. I could always preserve them in amber. Delicious.