Garden Huckleberry Revisited

Alliums garlicgrower at snip.net
Wed Aug 1 20:13:15 EDT 2001



Aozotorp at aol.com wrote:

>http://www.ethnobotany.com/seeds/Seed_f-z.html#nightshade
>
>Solanum Nigrum: "Black-nightshade" A medical solanum species, has edible
>berries good for pies. Although toxic when unripe.

This is not Garden Huckleberry, which is Solanum melanocerasum.


>http://www3.extension.umn.edu/projects/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h201huckleberry.


>Garden huckleberry or wonderberry (Solanum melanocerasum, syn S. nigrum 
>guineense) 

Supposedly, wonderberries are a different Solanum, smaller and promoted by
Luther Burbank.  In Seed Saver's Exchange, some folks said they tasted
better than the Garden Huckleberries.  Maybe I'll try them next year -- I'm
not overly impressed with the taste so far.

>is not related to true huckleberries, woody plants in the heath 
>family. Instead, it is an herbaceous annual in the nightshade family, related 
>to tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, eggplant and potato. An unusual crop for 
>gardeners to try, garden huckleberry bears small jet-black berries that are 
>cooked and sweetened, and often combined with other fruits such as apples, 
>lemons and grapes, to make jellies, preserves and pies. 

Anyone try cooking them with grapes?  That actually sounds fairly
interesting.  I made a mixed fruit pie with the last of the bush cherries,
raspberries and garden huckleberries which actually was eaten up fairly
quickly around here.  I'll have to try with lemons and in an apple pie when
the apples come in. . .

Mrs. Marlin Burkholder wrote:

>This weekend I put some in mincemeat pie, but threw out some of the other
>frozen ones.  

This sounds promising -- and extending the mincemeat is an old PA Dutch
tradition! ;-)

>When they were fresh I did use some in stir-fries.

Really?  How did that work?  What else was in the stir-fry -- was this a
traditional Chinese-type thing or just whatever all was ripe that time of
year got tossed in the wok with olive oil and garlic? (Heh, heh, heh -- you
can tell how complicated my cooking gets in-season! ;-))

Joan wrote:

>I have just discovered another use for these garden huckleberries - they are
>serving as a trap crop for blister beetles in one of my gardens. 

What are blister beetles?  I don't recognize the name -- maybe we don't get
them in Pennsylvania! :-)  Mostly, we don't have a bug problem with tomatoes
around here at all -- a hornworm might show up once in a while, but they get
eaten by the wasp larve (the ones that lay the eggs on the hornworm's back)
fairly quickly. . .

Thanks for the help, everyone! :-)




Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of 
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460




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