(Solanum melanocerasum) An antioxidant rich garden berry that undergoes the most miraculous flavor transformation when cooked and just lightly sweetened! There is a stark contrast between eating the berries raw and cooked and sweetened state. The raw ripe berries have a tart flavor, similar to tomatillo, yummy for savory snacking and salsas. The cooked and lightly sweetened berries are reminiscent of blackberry or gooseberry. The garden huckleberry is native to Africa and is a solanaceous berry in the tomato family. The intense purple black hue of the berries indicates high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin. We adore this nutritious, quick maturing annual which produces masses of fruit in a short season. For very best flavor it is important to harvest at the correct stage. Berries will be a shiny, green to black when under-mature; at this stage the flavor will be unpleasant and the berries may be slightly poisonous. The berries mature to a dull black color and should be slightly soft to the touch; at this point the berries are perfect to eat and quite tasty. The truly spectacular flavor of these berries is revealed when the berries are cooked and sweetened; this brings out a fruity, blackberry-like flavor that is simply sublime. We have seen these berries re-imagined into delectable jams, pies, syrups and fillings--easily one of the most rewarding fruit crops to grow!
Otricoli Orange Berry
(Solanum nigrum) 70 days. Here’s a most unusual nightshade plant, collected originally by the Gettles in Umbria, Italy, in the ancient Roman site of Ocriculum. It was found growing along the Tiber River, growing with the common black nightshade, (S. nigrum). Plants reach 2-3 feet tall, having typical nightshade leaves and white flowers. The small berries have a lot of visual interest being a bright orange—not at all the dark purple that you might expect. At maturity the plants are covered in clusters of brilliant orange! This species has been used as food for millenia, use only ripe fruit for eating.
These have an incredible sweet-taste, similar to real blackberries. Attractive 2- to 3-foot plants yield clusters of pea-sized black berries. Brought to Kansas by Volga German immigrants about 1875, and still appreciated by their descendants, who grow and use them in such traditional recipes as Kuchen, Maultaschen, Klump and Knebel. Eat only fully ripe, dark blue-black berries.