black nightshade (garden huckelberry)

shortarse_hedgewitch(8)October 12, 2005

my gods i haven't been here in AGES

anyhoo down to bussiness,

does anyone have any good recipies for black nightshade jam, the berries one ripe (according to many sources) are not poisonous, and anyway boiling destroys the poisonous alkaliods in solanaceae (nightshades)

i would like to make some as it grows round here and nightshade jam sounds interesting :)

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jannie(z7 LI NY)

When my nephew was little (like age 2) he had to be hospitalized twice in one week. The first time he drank a bottle of childs vitamin drops, the second he ate red nightshade berries off a bush. He lived.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 9:00AM
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CA Kate

"Garden Huckelberry" must be a British term for Nightshade. Over here huckelberry is something entirely different and safe to eat. I'd never even attempt to use any Nightshade for cooking -- and I'm not referring to the greater family which includes potatoes and tomatoes.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 9:22PM
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Herbalynn(Oregon, 7-8)

Here's a recipe for pie that sounds delish! Enjoy, Lynn

Here is a link that might be useful: GH Pie @ Flower & Garden magazine

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 11:44AM
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bear in mind that the specific genus Solanum is the same as potato and tomato, unlike belladonna, Atropa
admitantly red nightshade (woody n/shade, bittersweet, Solanum dulcamara) is more poisonous and also Solanum

thanks for the pie recipie

oh and garden huckelberry is an american term, i only included it as most people here are americann, i know how confusing common names are, as now i think i remember that garden huckelberry is also a different plant

n.b. black nightshade is Solanum nigrum, synnm Solanum melanocerasum

i remember something about when the berries stop being shiny and the skin dulls then they are safe raw as the plant (not wanting to kill its seed carriers) destroys the alkaloids itself, a little atropine and solanine never hurt anyone, provided its only a little

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 2:30PM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

I went googling for a pic of nightshade and found the site below which does indeed list garden hucklebery as one of the common names. Hey, learning is why I read here!

I was always under the impression that nightshade is deadly, always. Apparently there are medicinal uses for it but I think I'll pass. For now anyhow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solanum nigrum L.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 9:09PM
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As children we were always told that the nightshade berries were poisonous but I think that is more or less a fable. A confusion with another solanum entirely. Judging from the article, the plant wirh edible berries is an annual which has non-poisonous berries, not the perennial vine that grows in this area (NY State).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 5:45PM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

Except the FULL syn. of Garden Huckleberry was S. nigrum guineense which is a sub-species of S. nigrum (black nightshade).


    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 10:10AM
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hmmm, an interesting point vera, interesting and valluable

nightshade is such a generic term, it covers several genuses
and not all in each denuses are nightshades

black nightshade and bittersweet (the one with the red berries) are more closely related to tomato (all solanum)than to deadly nightshade(atropa)

bear in mind that when green tomatos are also poisonous, but when made into jam are safe to eat.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 10:16PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

I've always heard 'Huckleberry' used as the west coast north American name for Vaccinium species such as blueberry.

As for the garden huckleberry - Solanum nigrum or black nightshade - here's what Jennifer Bennett says in her book Berries (not to put you off; just happen to be reading this book):

...'related to the potato but more closely resembles another relative, deadly nightshade'...'Dusky berries turn almost black when ripe'...'There are those who claim that, bolstered with enough sugar, garden huckleberries make a fine pie' but she found them mealy and unappealing. 'In any case, the plant is so productive...that many a garden dabbler might want to give it a try.'

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 11:16AM
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they do indeed resemble deadly nightshade, but not nearly as deadly (almost always a good thing!)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 6:18PM
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UNLESS you have these awful enemies, then deadly nightshade jelly might be a good gift! Muaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaahaaaaa
*evilly rubbing hands*

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 8:11PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

Mmmm...a deadly nightshade jelly with monkshood butter on foxglove bread sandwich....

Shortarse (if I may call you that) I hope you report back on your results.

- Paul, who ate some of these last week and lived to tell the tale (they were tasty)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 9:47AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

When I was young we once made a sort of pancake syrup of the fruits of Solanum nigrum, and although it didn't exactly taste like blueberry - nor as good as blueberry, for that matter - it did prove to be edible and safe. We tossed it after I read that the plant was a nightshade and we hadn't been careful to screen out all of the green berries and we were behaving a bit paranoid, but it clearly wasn't poisonous or there would have been consequences. The garden huckleberry is much larger-fruited, I believe, and my mother swore that she used to make jam from the fruits of something similar at home and they simply called them huckleberries. Of course, they could not have been real huckleberries of Ericaceae, as she lived in the middle of windswept, alkaline, North Dakota prairie. I'd wager that these were the ones.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 5:52PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Shartarse - even if they do you no harm how many would you need to produce an amount of jam worth the effort of making it? Are you growing garden huckleberries intentionally as a crop or do you just have the usual sprinkling of black nightshade plants as a weed in your garden? If the latter I would have thought thaey would be fiddly to pick and you'd not get enought to bother with.

paulNS - I have eaten blewitts too. They are delicious and difficult to confuse with other fungi because of their unusual colour.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 7:01AM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

There's a very in-depth article about S. nigrum (black nightshade) here:

You can download a pdf of the article free.

You can eat the berries as long as they are boiled. Apparently, fermentation also works to destroy the solanine. I have been wanting to make black nightshade wine from the berries forever. Never get around to it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 2:16PM
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Never ever even attempt it. The black Nigthshade (Solanum Nigrum) contains Solanine as does Bittersweet Nightshade Solanum Dulcamara (The red berried nightshade).

I grow all the poisonous/medicinal plants as a hobby.

Black nightshade in NO way contains ANY tropane alkaloids. Infact its often confused with Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade / Belladonna).

Belladonna 1. Has HUGE leaves around 8 to 10 inches long and 6 inches wide! It produces 1 inch BELL shaped flowers that are green purple and brown. It produces berries of shiney black inside an Upsidedown star from the "HIP" of the flower
and is in no way safe to eat ATALL. (In the mildest can cause blindness) - Atropine, Scopolamine, Hyoscyamnine

Belladonna 2. Does not occure in the wild SLUGS devour it with impunity. It only grows wild in europe. Then there its banned and wild plants are destroyed.

There is hardly any such thing as Wild Deadly-Nightshade left in the wolrd. Its only grown in medicinal gardens or the curious and it is well protected from insects.

I grow this plant. It does best in the shade. Hardly any sun.

Black nightshade 1. Is small and woody at the base getting a bark like exterior, leaves are small about 1inch to 2 inches at most, the berries cluster after "WHITE FLOWERS drop off". The cluster of juicey black berries looks apatizing but they are not and they are poisonous.

The berry juice is first of all "Light sensative and oxygene sensitive. When exposed to either the juice goes milky WHITE. The berries ALWAYS contain Solanine "A cardiac poison". Boiling does remove it but its risky.

If your curious Ive tastes a berry and spit it out. The juice stained my teeth for two days! and was heavily inky and tasted like concentrated bitter tomatos. "NOT sweet or pleasnt" rather very bitter.

Don't waste your time or your health with this.

Unless your experienced and have a family passdown where its prepared all the time. Leave it to those who know it.

Just concearned for your saftey

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 3:00AM
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Thank you all so much for this post! I have been protecting several solanums for years, trying to get up the nerve to taste the fruits. One produces small striped green/yellow tomato-like fruits; one sets black berries and one sets red berries. I will keep working on this.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 1:29AM
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