I’m currently dying to write a series of botanist mysteries. “The victim was clearly poisoned, but what with?” The solution to one of these would have to be potato berries. I don’t know how poisonous they actually are, and I’m seized with a Stubbins Ffirth-like desire to find out by eating some, but I have been gently dissuaded from this course by my husband, who would rather be able to goof off this weekend than, say, take his wife to the emergency room.
I collected two types of berries, smaller purplish ones and larger green ones. They were both simply lying on the ground about where the All-Blues are/were, but the French Fingerling and Irish Cobbler plants sprawled, so it’s hard to say for sure which ones were the parent plants. I labeled a paper towel and sliced a couple in half. The larger green ones turned out to be less ripe, with hard flesh, the smaller purplish ones more so–the flesh was softer, and when I squeezed tiny seeds popped out readily, like in a blueberry.
So I squeezed seeds from all the purple ones (and the one initial green one) and set them out to dry. I’m assuming they’re like tomatillos (or blueberries) and don’t need fermenting, rather than tomatoes that (supposedly) do. I’ll wait a week or two and see what’s happened to the green ones. Even if nothing’s happened, I’ve got plenty of seeds already. Between these and the garlic, I think next year’s garden is going to yield less food than this year; but it’s going to be interesting from a botanical, as well as a simply vegetable-gardening, perspective.
(All right, I’ve looked them up. They’re hardly poisonous at all! Probably very bitter, though.)