By Jackie LaVerne, PowellsWood Gardener & Consultant and Owner of Magellanica Gardens Nursery
Yes! It did!
It does not seem to be commonly known to folks who are growing fuchsias in their gardens that they are growing berries. Usually people think of those dark squishy things as a menace and a mess in their yards. But they are actually very tasty berries that can be used in many ways, including salads, muffins, tarts, garnishes, jams, jellies, even pies (although you really have to collect a lot to make pie!), and the berries are also just great to pick and eat all by themselves. And the flowers are edible too.
All fuchsias produce berries, although some varieties have much better tasting fruit than others. The berries are produced as the flowers on the plants mature and fall off. What is left behind is either a round or elliptical-shaped berry. The berries can grow to almost an inch long on some hybrids and species fuchsias, or to just 1/2-inch on the miniature Encliandra-type fuchsias. Single-bloom fuchsias produce more fruit than double-bloom fuchsias. Fuchsia berries can taste very peppery to very sweet, almost like a kiwi. The berries of Fuchsia procumbens, the groundcover fuchsia, are my personal favorite; they get very large and are very sweet.
Late summer through fall is a good time to harvest fuchsia berries. Pick the berries when they are soft and squishy; test them by tasting them to make sure that they are sweet. Be sure to use them promptly, as they do not keep well and will go bad quickly once picked. If you need to save up large quantities of fruit for a pie or tart, freeze them immediately like any other berry. When harvesting the berries keep in mind that the dark fruit will stain clothes and fingers, so remember to dress accordingly!
You can use your own berry recipes and substitute fuchsia berries, or here are two great fuchsia berry recipes to try. Do you have a favorite fuchsia berry recipe to share? We’d love to hear from you!
Fuchsia Berry Jelly
1 cup fuchsia flowers
1 cup ripe, washed fuchsia berries
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of water (or apple juice or apple cider)
1 apple, sweet, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin
Simmer flowers, berries, sugar, lemon juice, water, and apple for 10 minutes. Let mixture cool a bit, then strain it. Add the gelatin and allow to thicken in refrigerator.
Fuchsia Berry Jam
1 lb. sugar
2 tablespoons water (or apple pectin, apple juice or cider)
juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ lb. of ripe fuchsia berries, washed
Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a pan and cook carefully over low heat until sugar dissolves. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Add the berries gently, folding them into the mixture so as not to break up the berries too much. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil. Boil until the mixture will set when tested on a plate. Seal in heated jars. Allow to cool completely before eating, then enjoy!This entry was posted on 09/09/2010 in Fuchsias 101, Garden Journal by PowellsWood