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Solanum melanocerasumGarden huckleberry is not related to true huckleberries, woody plants in the heath family. Instead, it is an herbaceous annual in the nightshade family, related to tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, eggplant and potato. An unusual crop for gardeners to try, garden huckleberry bears small jet-black berries that are cooked and sweetened, and often combined with other fruits such as apples, lemons and grapes, to make jellies, preserves and pies.
Garden huckleberry plants resemble pepper plants, bushy and erect, up to two feet tall (60cm).
The fruits are not edible until fully ripe and cooked. They are toxic if eaten unripe, and the raw fruit is quite bitter. The berries are ready to harvest about two weeks after they first turn black, when their skin has changed from shiny to dull, and the flesh is very soft. The interior pulp will turn from greenish to purple when ripe.
Not frost hardy. Will reseed in areas of frost.