Possible SPAM::[NAFEX] Black nightshade
Sam.Brungardt at state.mn.us
Fri Dec 17 11:27:45 EST 2004
There is a form of nightshade (I don't know the species, but presumably
it's from Southeast Asia, Laos perhaps) that the Hmong farmers sell in
the St. Paul (Minn.) Farmers Market for consumption as a potherb. I've
not tried cooking any, but did taste a leaf raw, and it was quite acrid.
Also, I've seen reports that S. nigrum has been used as a potherb in
Europe (although it's my guess that this was most likely during times of
famine). Like poke and some other greens, the juice from the first
cooking may have to be thrown away. -- Sam Brungardt
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of kieran or donna
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 7:59 PM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Possible SPAM::[NAFEX] Black nightshade
This is a pretty simple one. The poison involved is solanine, which is
mostly gone in fully ripe fruit, and then should be further broken down
in cooking. The whole family is toxic to some degree or another, with
great variation. "Garden huckleberries" are very similar to black
nightshade, and are considered toxic raw, edible cooked, but they still
taste terrible to me. There have been some low solanine "huckleberries"
from time to time, the former breeder at Territorial Seeds had a mixture
available, he said if you tasted a bitter one raw, spit it out
immediately or it would make you sick. I grew some of his sweet ones,
they were very nice both raw and cooked, but the blister beetles
wouldn't leave the plants alone, just ate them up. I'll try to remember
the name of his company, oh yes, Tim Peters of Peters Seed and
Research... He had some really fun stuff. He also sells a black
nightshade or close relative which is used as cooked greens somewhere on
the planet. The blister beetles kept me from having to decide whether
to try them.
Others to consider are the tomatillos, which are apparently low in
solanine at all stages, and the ground cherries, which are quite nice
both raw and cooked but only when fully ripe and yellow!!! Then there's
the shoo-fly plant, which looks similar but the fruit is dry and seedy,
and not worth finding out if it's edible. (The plant smells very toxic)
I caught my toddler in England tasting bittersweet nightshade, it
tastes terrible but won't kill you. The big question I had when I
called the hospital was what color deadly nightshade berries are. They
wouldn't tell me, kept insisting I bring in a peice of the plant. I
kept telling them I was 45 min away by bus, and wound up getting the
info from a friend's college professor by phone. I wasn't too worried,
or I would never have left the plant, but wanted to double check when I
found him with the berries dripped down his front. I had a taste
myself, and it was apparent from the bitterness why they were on his
shirt instead of inside him.
There are other toxins in this family of course, not just nicotine,
but also in the carolina horse nettle there is the basis for the drug
scopalamine. It was a drug used during childbirth, if I remember
correctly it's the one that didn't actually stop the pain, the women
screamed bloody murder, but afterward they didn't remember the pain, or
the birth,... or the baby.
Do you all know any more toxins in this family? I's an interesting
subject. There are some weird plants in it that we don't usually see.
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