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Leunca Nightshade Berries
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The Leunca Nightshade berry bush grows up to about 1 meter or so. The leaves are oblong and pointed at either end, with toothed or lobed edges. They are often filled with holes made by bugs. The tiny white flowers form on umbels. The juicy berries, which form from the flowers, are green turning dark purple-black when ripe. Their size is comparable to a pea or a small blueberry. Inside are yellow, edible seeds. The skin is somewhat tough like a tomato skin. The berries taste similar to ground cherries, another nightshade, or like a sweet form of a tomato. They are both sweet and savory, and may have hints of melon or even licorice.
Leunca Nightshade berries are available year-round in tropical regions and in the summer to early fall in temperate regions.
Leunca Nightshade berries’ botanical name is Solanum nigrum. Other closely-related nightshade berries are Solanum americanum or other edible Solanum species. Leunca is the name given to this berry in parts of Indonesia. In other parts of the world, they are known under different names. In some places, especially in Western countries such as in Europe and the United States, there are reports that nightshade berries are toxic. Nightshade is usually considered a weed in these countries. However, many people worldwide eat the berries and leaves without problem. Other species of nightshade are in fact poisonous, and reports of toxicity might actually be confusing Solanum nigrum with poisonous nightshades such as belladonna or datura. There may also be differences in toxicity levels in plants growing in different places. Other plants in the nightshade family are common vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
Nightshade berries contain several components including proteins, flavonoids, tannins, and vitamin C. The most controversial component of nightshades is solanine, a glycoalkaloid which in high doses in toxic to both humans and livestock. Solanine is also found in the leaves and stems of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
Ripe Leunca Nightshade berries can be eaten raw or cooked. They may be boiled down into jam or for use in pies, or eat them in salads, soups, and traditional Indonesia recipes such as sambal. The bitter leaves and young shoots of the plant are eaten as well. They should always be boiled for 10 to 15 minutes in a pot, then 10 to 15 minutes more after a water change. The leaves can be paired with ingredients such as coconut milk or shrimp.
Nightshade berries are used worldwide by many cultures for a variety of medicinal purposes beyond food. Leunca Nightshade is known as a sedative, and different parts of the plant are used to treat sore eyes, skin diseases, wounds, kidney disease, stomachaches, parasites, fevers, cough, and more. In Chinese medicine, is used in cancer therapy. The berries may also be crushed for a dark purple dye.
Leunca Nightshade berries grow in disturbed spaces such as roadsides, fields, yards, and construction sites. They prefer moist soil but can tolerate dry or stony habitats as well. The particular species Solanum nigrum is cultivated widely around the tropical and subtropical regions of the world world, such as in Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries like the Phillipines, Africa, India, east Asia, and Turkey. They also were introduced to other parts of the world, including the Americas, where it grows as a weed.
Recipes that include Leunca Nightshade Berries. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Tyrant Farms||Garden Nightshade Berry Jam|
|Black Nightshade Berry Curry|