Author Topic: Schwarzenberen  (Read 82 times)

Lauren

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Schwarzenberen
« on: 2019-08-15, 09:12:01 PM »
These are schwarzenberen (solanum nigrum), a german nightshade distantly related to tomatoes. The berry is tiny and pretty tasteless, a tiny bit sweet and acidic, not at all what you would expect from a "berry." Rather like its cousin in that sense. It's also chock full of seeds. I first grew them two years ago, and last year was their first chance to naturalize. They did, with a vengeance. Now they're all over, and I love it. The biggest plant is in my garden.(naturally) but they also love the dry west end and the fringe along the shade shadow of the big ash tree, where the fruit tree hedge will be.

The fruit, as I said, is tiny. It grows in clusters that don't always ripen at the same time, so I'm going to do some generational alterations. :)

The seeds I saved are from the very largest of the fruits, and surprisingly the largest are NOT from the plants with the most water. Most came from the same plant, but I took the largest fruits from the other plants as well. First to ripen, largest. Next year I'll plant these in a dedicated spot and again take seeds from the largest. It may be a tradeoff between size of the fruit and quantity. Once they're large enough to handle easily I'll start working on flavor and maybe someday I'll get ambitious and try to work on the number of seeds!
« Last Edit: 2019-08-15, 09:35:47 PM by Lauren »

Gustav H. L.

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Re: Schwarzenberen
« Reply #1 on: 2019-08-16, 03:55:58 AM »
Sounds like an interesting project, though quite surprising to me, given that I grew up being taught these were poisonous (they are an occasional weed around here). As such I would personally be wary, though some of the wild ancestors of even our most commercially important nightshades (and modern ones even on occasion) reportedly can cause toxicity in humans as well, and have just been bred not to.

On a different note it's interesting to hear that despite the relatedness of the Germanic languages, none of them can seemingly agree on which black berry deserves to be named after the colour, English chooses Rubus subg. Rubus, Danish goes with Empetrum nigrum, and now I learn German adds another layer to the disagreement.

Ellendra

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Re: Schwarzenberen
« Reply #2 on: 2019-08-16, 07:56:59 AM »
Sounds like an interesting project, though quite surprising to me, given that I grew up being taught these were poisonous (they are an occasional weed around here). As such I would personally be wary, though some of the wild ancestors of even our most commercially important nightshades (and modern ones even on occasion) reportedly can cause toxicity in humans as well, and have just been bred not to.



There's a lot of confusion between Solanum nigrum and Atropa belladonna. Some botanical texts, usually older ones, even consider them the same plant. It doesn't help that they're both called "Black Nightshade".

The berries of Solanum nigrum are edible. I think they taste better cooked, but that's a personal preference. Supposedly the very young leaves can be rendered edible if cooked in several changes of water, but I've never tried that.

Atropa belladonna is too poisonous to meddle with.

(I once wrote a Sherlock Holmes fanfiction, where a woman faked her own suicide using Solanum nigrum berries, because she knew the person watching her couldn't tell them from Atropa belladonna.)

Lauren

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Re: Schwarzenberen
« Reply #3 on: 2019-08-16, 08:29:42 AM »
I got the seeds from rareseeds so I'm pretty sure of the identification. I like them. Other people spit them out. It's a personal preference.

I just figure if the seeds were larger they'd be easier to handle and not such a pain to harvest.

ImGrimmer

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Re: Schwarzenberen
« Reply #4 on: 2019-08-19, 02:42:27 PM »
Schwarzenbere doesn`t sound modern german. It sounds medieval.
In modern german it is called "Schwarzer Nachtschatten" Black Nightshade.
As child I learned it is poisonous. I often read about its edibility but I can`t forget what I was told
When I am thinking of Black Nightshade I think of a skull with two crossed bones... :)

ImGrimmer

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Re: Schwarzenberen
« Reply #5 on: 2019-08-19, 02:50:38 PM »
I did some research, it seems that I am not the only one in Germany who is infected with this thought :)
There are many discussions in German forums where toxicity is discussed.
It is persistent to overcome what you were told as a child.

Lauren

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Re: Schwarzenberen
« Reply #6 on: 2019-08-19, 09:59:45 PM »
I've always called them Schwarzenberen, but the actual name is apparently Schwarzbeeren. They were brought here in the 1800's by German refugees (I think). The information is on the Rareseeds website. A lot of the descendants of those settlers apparently still eat them, although they're not at all common any more.