Ground cherry seeds can be harvested from the fruits of the Physalis peruviana plant. Ground cherry seeds are an important source of nutrition and have been used for centuries in many different cultures around the world. The seeds are typically dried and then stored for later use, but there are a few important steps to ensure that they remain viable and can provide a good crop when planted.
When to Harvest Physalis Seeds
Ground cherry seeds should be harvested after the fruits have turned yellow or orange and before they begin to dry out. The seeds should be picked when they are a light brown color and not overly ripe, as overripe seeds may not germinate properly. It is important to let the fruit mature on the plant until it is ready for harvesting.
How to Harvest Ground Cherry Seeds
- Ground cherry fruits should be harvested when they are fully ripe, usually as soon as they turn yellow and begin to drop off the plant. The fruits can be easily picked from the plant or shaken onto a piece of cloth spread beneath it. Once the ground cherries have been removed from the plant, take them indoors to dry completely before beginning seed preparation.
- Once the ground cherries are dry, it is time to remove the husks and release their seeds. To do this, slice each fruit in half and gently scrape out the seeds using a spoon. The pulp can also be separated from the seed at this time if desired.
- The released seeds can then be taken one step further and placed into a food processor or blender. Pulse the seeds several times to create a slurry of seed material, separating viable seeds from chaff and debris in the process.
- Once the seeds have been pulverized, it is time to dilute the slurry in a bowl or bucket of water. This will allow for easier separation of viable seeds from debris and chaff. The debris and chaff will float to the surface while viable seeds remain submerged. Scoop off any debris that has floated to the surface and discard it.
- The remaining slurry should now be carefully strained through a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess water. Gently spread the wet seeds on a paper towel or other absorbent material and allow them to air dry completely before storing. Make sure that the seeds are completely dry to prevent mold or fungal growth during storage.
Things You Will Need
- Ground cherry
- Knife or scissors
- Water container
- Fine mesh sieve
- Paper towel or absorbent material
Saving Ground Cherry Seeds for Later Use
Once the ground cherry seeds are completely dry, they should be stored in a cool, dark place to preserve their viability. Ideally, the seeds should be kept at about 40-50°F for optimal seed storage. If stored at a warmer temperature than this, the viability of the seeds may decrease more quickly over time. To avoid moisture and mildew buildup, store seeds in an airtight container such as a mason jar or zip-top bag. Make sure to label the container with the name of the seed variety and the date of harvesting.