by Daisy

I like novelty in the garden.  Weird stuff, in other words.  If the seed catalog makes it sound odd enough, it goes in my cart.

Last year I planted wonderberries, and this year they planted themselves.

Wonderberries are small, pea-sized berries grown on short, tender shrubs.  A tomato relative, they’re reminiscent in flavor of tiny, sweet, tender-skinned cherry tomatoes.  The skin is purple-black and the inside is basically lots of tiny edible seeds in a sweet/tangy juice.  You may taste a little bit of a watermelon flavor in a mouthful of wonderberries.  The flavor is often described as bland, but I would rather say they are mild.  The flavor of the fresh berry is also commonly panned, although those comments may refer to another variety because mine (Solanum x burbankii) is perfectly tasty fresh.

Grown like tomatoes, one little shrub won’t keep you in pies or jam, which is the way wonderberries are often prepared, but several plants would, although they are a little tedious to amass in good supply due to their small size–imagine if you had to pick a bowlful of baby peas, one or two peas at a time.

Still, they are fun to have around, tasty to pick and eat a few here and there while out in the garden, and I hope they keep reseeding themselves in mine.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy August 13, 2012 at 4:13 am

Oh no, I had these in with my tomatoes and pulled them up thinking they were some sort of weed with poison berries! I hope they come back.

Robert August 13, 2012 at 5:18 am

Do chickens like them?

Daisy August 13, 2012 at 7:03 am

They might come back. They did for me.

Daisy August 13, 2012 at 7:04 am

Robert–Yes, they have had the odd berry and go for them, but I won’t let them have many. I really like them.

Lucy August 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

So glad to see wonderberries have another fan! Bought seeds as an experiment a few years ago and they’ve self-sown abundantly ever since. We eat them fresh (largely in the garden, as with all the best things, don’t think a pea or a strawberry has ever made it as far as the house!) or freeze and jam with apples in autumn, they’re the ultimate no-effort crop. 🙂

Ryan August 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Last year I picked up a pack of seeds that must’ve had some of these mixed in and now they grow just about anywhere there’s some bare dirt in my yard – there could be worse things growing.

I’ve had a hard time trying to pin down the flavor, but tomato-like definitely fits. I might try putting them in some kind of pasta salad or something to get some use out of them.

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