Elderberry Toxicidy


I've found a location with lots of wild elderberries (southern louisiana). I'm having trouble identifying the specific version of elderberry that it is and I understand some are more toxic than others. It's not any of the main ones,American, Black, Mexican, Blue, Pacific. I'm a little concerned about the toxicity. From my online research pretty much everybody says the cooking the berries will eliminate the toxicity. My question is will fermentation alone do the same?
Also this berry has an unusual leaf, not the typical elongated one that most elderberry plants have. Its a V shape with a crown on the end. But the berries do grow in a typical elderberry cluster.
Something about like this...any ideas?
^^^ V
This is the best sight that i could find for checking.
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any help would be appreciated Hillary
Reply to
hap

Looks like my elderberries are some form of common nightshade. The triangular leaves gave it away. It's poisionous due to the solanine in the unripe berries. Would cooking the berries do the same for nightshade as it does for the elderberry? As I understand it cooking the elderberreis eleminates the cyanogens. I saw a previous post in this group about somone mentioning that they made nightshade wine. Is that safe?
hap
Reply to
hap

Hi Hillary,
I lurk here a lot, but for this I'll decloak. :)
Go very carefully with nightshades. Some nightshades can be deadly. My two-year old (who is 19 now) ate some raw nightshade berries and became desperately ill. Scary. I know some ranchers who've lost calves to nightshade poisoning.
On the other hand, I know some folks who make jam from nightshade berries (I've never tried it) and they say it's great. I would not doubt that some make wine.
Here's a website that describes nightshades in general:
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it says "Cooking destroys the toxic alkaloids in members of the nightshade family. Other members of the night shade family including potatos amd tomatos, hairy nightshade (Solanum sarrachoides, cut leaf nightshade(Solanum triflorum),and silverleaf nightshade(S. elaeagnifolium) are toxic in the green state."
The distribution map posted on that website does not show nightshades in Louisiana. But who's to say the map isn't wrong.
Clip a generous piece of that plant that has stem, leaves and ripe/unripe fruit, keep it in water so it doesn't dry out and locate a county extension agent, master gardener or botanist who can identify it for you.
Thanks for starting this thread. I now know that it's the bitter nightshade (S.dulcamara) that makes such a mess in my hedge... :(
Good luck with your winemaking!
Cindie
Reply to
tovaryn

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Found this article on the subject. Looks like cooking nightshade foods reduces the alkaloids 40-50%. But as I understand it the common nightshade and especially the deadly nightshade have so much of the solanine in them than potatoes or tomatoes that a 40-50% recudtion may not be enough. Similar to sulphites some folks could be more susceptable to alkaloids than others. So I wonder if Nightshade wine (or jelly) would be ok for some people while making others sick.
I think I'll just continue my search for wild elderberries and leave the nightshade alone. Thanks for the input. Hap
Reply to
hap

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