This post is about Harvesting Garden Huckleberry. We will show you how to harvest the fruit, clean them, and freeze them for future processing. Make sure you harvest only fully ripe fruit.
About Garden Huckleberry
Garden Huckleberry or wonderberry (Solanum melanocerasum) is a member of the nightshade family. The nightshade family includes tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. You need to use caution with any of the nightshade family plants in that certain parts of the plants can be toxic. The leaves of the garden huckleberry are considered toxic although I did find some references online about them being edible if they are cooked the right way. The unripe fruit can also be toxic, so make sure when harvesting garden huckleberry, you only gather the fully ripe fruit.
When harvesting garden huckleberry only harvest the dark purple fruit. You do not want to grab any fruit that still has green in it. What you are looking for is a very dark purple color fruit that is a little soft. I have seen several references stating that the fruit tastes even sweeter if they are left on the vine until after a frost or two.
Harvesting Garden Huckleberry
To harvest, simply grab the ripe fruit and give a tug. If a piece of the stem comes with it, remove the stem and keep only the ripe fruit. I used a Ziploc bag as I was harvesting, but you can use a bowl or whatever works for your situation.
How Much Fruit
My garden had two plants planted very close together. I left all the berries on the vine until after we had a few frosts and then I harvested them all at once. The result was one full gallon Ziploc bag and half of another. The fruit is about the size of a small cherry or grape.
What to Make?
The fruit can be made into jams, jellies, and pies. They can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or two if needed. I have too much going on at the moment to be baking anything, so I’m going to freeze them.
To freeze them for later use, I wash them thoroughly in a colander. Then I put them on a paper towel on the counter and gently roll them around between two paper towels until they are dry. Then I take a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and label it as garden huckleberry and the date that they are going in the freezer. Add the berries to the bag, seal the bag, and toss them in the freezer until needed at a later date.
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