It’s also the time of year when passers-by tell me ‘don’t eat that! It’s poisonous’!
Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is a delicious relative of the humble Tomato. Like tomatoes, the berries are the best bit. Berries are best picked and eaten when they’re black. If they’re black and readily drop off the plant into your hand they’re ripe.
If you have any doubt, leave them be and certainly don’t eat them if they’re green!
As one of the Solanum family, they contain toxins in the green parts that aren’t good for us but like the tomato and potato, they have parts that are quite delicious.
Young leaves can be eaten in small quantities like any leafy green but the older ones are off limits – they have higher levels of toxins and are tough and yucky!
Herbally, leaves have been used for small skin infections and cuts, but you can say that of pretty well any wild green leaf.
Apparently they can be used for liver complaints too but I’ve yet to meet anyone who has used it for that purpose.
There you go, have a look when you’re out walking and give it a go. Remember though, don’t eat the green berries!