Black Nightshade Berries at Never Ending Food

Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is a misunderstood food. As with other members of the nightshade family (like tomatoes and potatoes) the immature fruits can be toxic, but when fully ripe they become nutritious and safe to eat. In Chichewa, this plant is called ‘mnadzi’ and both the leaves, as well as the ripe fruits, are used as food.

The leaves may be cooked similar to spinach, and the younger leaves are tastiest. Older leaves may become bitter and require a change of water when cooking to remove the bitterness. Immature (and toxic) fruits are green, eventually turning dark purple/black in color when ripe and edible. These ripe berries may be eaten fresh or turned into delicious jam.

Nutritionally, both the leaves and ripe berries provide nutrients that are deficient in many Malawian diets. The leaves, as well as the ripe berries contain significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

Edible Leaves of Black Nightshade