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Black Nightshade, Solanum nigrum

18 years ago

Do any of you use Solanum nigrum, or Black Nightshade for pies, jellys etc.? My Dad always grew a similar cultivore, Burbank Wonderberries, (also called Garden Huckleberries) and my mom made wonderful pies, using apples with them to modify the bite that these berries have. We also had lots of wild Solanum nigrum around, but everyone called it "Poison Nightshade". I found an article in the early 1950's in Nature Magazine (the one for kids in this country, not the English one) that praised Black Nightshade berries for pie. I knew that the berries must be totally ripe or the residual Solanine will make you nauseated and dizzy, so I showed my 3 year old daughter (who is a consumate grazer and berry picker) how to be careful and eat only the very black ones. She picked about a pint (most of my wild crop) and ate them raw and was uaffected, so I guess ours are OK. I was discussing Black Nightshade with the widow of my college biology prof and she mentioned that people in Iowa considered them to be poisonous, but her mother in Colorado made a jelly using the berries, lemon juice and lemon slices, sugar and pectin, and her mother had a hard time getting enough berries because the kids ate too many while they were picking them.

Anyone else have any experience with this fruit?

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