Fuch­sia berries

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Cover Story - Ju­lia’s Ed­i­ble Weeds ju­liased­i­ble­weeds.com

It may come as a sur­prise to some, but the berries – and flow­ers – of the hum­ble fuch­sia are ed­i­ble. The bud­ded flow­ers can be dipped in tem­pura bat­ter and deep-fried to form a crispy treat, and the berries can be eaten fresh or used in pre­serves. Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and keen for­ager Ju­lia Sich loves to eat the berries.

“They are de­li­cious picked straight off the shrub. If you’re lucky to have enough, they can be made into jam. But I think they’re a nice, fresh, sweet-with-slight-af­ter-taste del­i­cacy.”

While all fuch­sias pro­duce berries, not all are de­li­ciously tasty. It’s a mat­ter of try­ing them to see which ones you like. They dif­fer in size, taste and tex­ture, de­pend­ing on the species and even the cul­ti­var. Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the taste. But once you find the tasty berries, it’s worth it.

“What you pick is what you get to eat, as there are no big seeds or pips – it’s all for the eat­ing,” says Ju­lia.

The jury is still out among for­agers on just what they tastete like though. Some say they tasteste of tamar­il­los, some say sweet figs or ki­wifruit. It seems to de­pendnd on which fuch­sia berry you are eat­ing.at­ing.

The NZ na­tive tree fuch­sia, Fuch­sia ex­cor­ti­cata or ko­tuku­tuku, pro­duces de­li­cious berries too, and these were fre­quently gath­ered by early Maori. An­drew Crowe writes in his ex­cel­lent book Na­tive Ed­i­ble Plants of New Zealand:

“The berries were called ‘konini’ by the Maori and were col­lected by the men either climb­ing the trees with bas­kets or shak­ing the fruit onto mats spread un­der the tree; the berries were eaten raw and par­tic­u­larly rel­ished by chil­dren.” So, when to pick them? “Fuch­sia berries ripen in au­tumn and should be al­most black and soft,” says Ju­lia.

Once you find the ripe berries, you’re in for a treat.

If you love the thrill of the hunt, it’s a great way to seek out more un­usual foods. Red clover, chick­weed and white hore­hound all have medic­i­nal value that you can har­ness, while mush­rooms, wild greens and berries have tasty ap­peal.

Then there’s these four ed­i­ble de­lights you might not have come across.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.