Wild Fuchsia in Our Garden
Can You Eat Fuchsia Fruit?
Did you know that ALL the Fuchsia plants produce berries?
Not only that, they are ALL edible fruits. Wow, it was certainly news to me and the Fuchsia have been one of my must have plants for years.
I have planted many different types in containers and in flower beds, growing the upright bush varieties along with the trailing Fuchsias and for the life of me do not remember reading or being told that the fuchsia produced fruit.
It means that I have been growing my own berries, suitable for many different mouth-watering delights without ever knowing!
Now I know that the black mess on my patio at the end of a flowering season was the fruit and I could have picked them for eating!
History of The Fuchsia
In the early 18th Century, the Fuchsia was first discovered on the island of Hispaniola (now known as Dominican Republic and Haiti) in the Caribbean by the French monk and botanist, Charles Plumier.
He subsequently named the new discovery after the acclaimed 16th Century German botanist Leonhart Fuchs.
Today, there are more than 100 different species of Fuchsia growing throughout the world. The vast majority of Fuchsia are native to Central and South America with a small number found in New Zealand, Tahiti and on Hispaniola.
The garden Fuchsia varieties we enjoy will have originated in one of these locations.
The Fuchsia flower thanks to many hybrids or types, now comes in a variety of colours, shape and size but will fall into one of three categories –
Single Petal – will have 4 petals
Semi Double Petal – will consist of 5, 6 or 7 petals
Double Petal – will have 8 or 9 petals
The petals of the Fuchsia are also one of the edible flowers and can look stunning as a feature in dishes such as cakes, cheesecakes, pavlova or even a garnish in a summer salad, a stew or an iced drink!
Variety of Fuchsia Colours
The colours of these striking flowers vary considerably. Many will know the reddish purplish colour that went on to become associated with the fuchsia colour in fashion terms.
The striking two tone colourings in many varieties come in a wide palette of shades including white, peach, orange, yellow, pink, pinkish – purple, bluish – purple and red.
There is something for everyone in their soft or vibrant tones. With so many hybrids available in Fuchsias, the colour arrays are both eye-catching and plentiful.
For me the shape is one of the most outstanding features. The long “teardrop” shape sways like a pendulum in a light breeze and the unique lines and curves are there to admire. Really look at a flower close up and you will see what I mean.
The majority of Fuchsias are shrubs and will generally grow between 0.2-4 m (8 in – 13 ft) in height. The one exception grows in New Zealand and is a tree, growing between 12-15 metres (39 ft – 49 ft) in height.
The flowers are in bloom from early summer all the way through to autumn. In tropical places they will bloom all year.The berries are formed as soon as the flower petals start falling off and are best harvested towards the end of summer into early autumn or fall, when the berries are soft. Harvesting the berries will also help to encourage renewed growth and a profusion of colour.
- The first thing to remember is all Fuchsia varieties produce fruit and I reiterate, all are edible, just some taste better than others!
- The spectrum of taste can range from tasteless, insipid, bitter, like pomegranate, grape, peppery, lemony to very sweet. One of the sweetest varieties is Fuchsia Procumbens (a ground covering variety).
- Some say “the blacker the fruit, the sweeter the taste”.
- The berries will be either round or oval in appearance and can be 0.5 – 1 inch in length.
- The biggest fruit producing Fuchsias are the single petal varieties.
- When testing the berries, treat them like you would lilies or beetroot in that they stain and can be a nightmare to get out of skin and clothing.
- If you harvest your fruit, are happy with their ripeness and taste, use them quickly as they do not last long. You may freeze them if you wish, like other berries for a later date.
- Dogs and Ducks have been noted fans of the Fruit!
Fuchsia in Bloom
How To Use Fuchsia Fruit
Here are some ideas of dishes to help you think of ways to use your Fuchsia Fruit.
Do bear in mind, if you need large quantities for certain dishes, you will need a good source of berries!
Substitute fuchsia fruit in any recipes using berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, gooseberries, elderberries and mulberries. For example -
Tea, Sauces, Ice Creams, Jelly, Tarts, Pies, Cheesecakes, Pavlovas, Terrines and Cakes.
Buns, Cookies, Trifles and Fruit Cake (instead of currents).