Making wine out of poisonous berries?

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bitterbad

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Hear me out

So those indistinct berries you always see on bushes and trees but don't pick them because you know that they're poisonous. Holly berries to name one, but there's a bunch of different kinda. Would fermenting them into wine make them edible? Would the yeasts potentially metabolize the toxic parts of them? Would the toxic parts just be neutralized in the slurry of alcohol, sugar, and acidity? Could you use Modern Chemistry to neutralize the toxins? Or would i just end up with a wine that makes you vomit before you get drunk?

As far as taste goes, I'm sure it's impossible to say, since i bet few of us have tasted poisonous berries. I'm sure it'd be pretty sour, but I'm not really concerned with the tastes with this case, i just want to know if it can be done.
 

BigDaveK

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How many great discoveries started with "Hear me out"?

I know many berries are toxic and not necessarily poisonous. Birds and animals eat them so why can't I? Right?
Mother Nature makes things taste bad - to us - for a reason. I have an assortment of unpalatable plants and some have big, beautiful, juicy berries. And I know that 4 beans from my castor plants will put an adult 6 feet under. Will some process neutralize toxicity? I don't know. I'm sure something can be done. But since wine making is about flavor, if it doesn't taste good I'm not making wine with it.

It's very possible that some intrepid wine maker used questionable berries and at the tasting described the flavor as "Oh, that's very...uh...uh..uuhhhh........" I applaud your curiosity but personally I'll be at the end of the tasting line.
 

ChuckD

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Hear me out

So those indistinct berries you always see on bushes and trees but don't pick them because you know that they're poisonous. Holly berries to name one, but there's a bunch of different kinda. Would fermenting them into wine make them edible? Would the yeasts potentially metabolize the toxic parts of them? Would the toxic parts just be neutralized in the slurry of alcohol, sugar, and acidity? Could you use Modern Chemistry to neutralize the toxins? Or would i just end up with a wine that makes you vomit before you get drunk?

As far as taste goes, I'm sure it's impossible to say, since i bet few of us have tasted poisonous berries. I'm sure it'd be pretty sour, but I'm not really concerned with the tastes with this case, i just want to know if it can be done.
Maybe

“Here, I made this from poisonous berries… it might be safe”. Is not something I want to hear at a wine tasting😂.

I understand the curiosity factor. I try lots of hair-brained things myself, but In all seriousness, unless you have an organic chemistry lab I wouldn’t even think of it.
 

BigDaveK

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Maybe

“Here, I made this from poisonous berries… it might be safe”. Is not something I want to hear at a wine tasting😂.

I understand the curiosity factor. I try lots of hair-brained things myself, but In all seriousness, unless you have an organic chemistry lab I wouldn’t even think of it.
This is crazy, but....I've actually thought of it. Part of my "just in case" mentality.

Imagine armed thugs break into your house, you're helpless, doom and gloom is your future. You could be a gracious hostage and say, "Would you psychopathic gentlemen like some wine?"

Wine saves the day...again.
 

QuiQuog

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It's very possible that some intrepid wine maker used questionable berries and at the tasting described the flavor as "Oh, that's very...uh...uh..uuhhhh........" I applaud your curiosity but personally I'll be at the end of the tasting line.
So you're uh... not going for it? 🤣
 

suzyq2

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I did read an article about deadly nightshade vs a similar looking non deadly night shade. Like BigDaveK I'm an adventurous but I'm gonna skip that one. Apparently an ancient Greek cult made a Bacchus wine from nightshade berries, herbs and grapes. It was consumed before dancing and orgies. So they think.
 

JustJoe

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I made wine from wild grapes and accidentally mixed buckthorn berries in with it. My daughter was 'helping' me pick grapes and didn't realize the nice black berries were not grapes. The wine had and off taste but it wouldn't be throwaway stuff. However, buckthorn berries have a strong laxative effect and, even after drinking just one glass, it had the same effect as taking an ex-lax. The rest of the batch was poured down the drain.
 

suzyq2

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I made wine from wild grapes and accidentally mixed buckthorn berries in with it. My daughter was 'helping' me pick grapes and didn't realize the nice black berries were not grapes. The wine had and off taste but it wouldn't be throwaway stuff. However, buckthorn berries have a strong laxative effect and, even after drinking just one glass, it had the same effect as taking an ex-lax. The rest of the batch was poured down the drain.
Well now, I may have saved a few bottles. Just for special occasions or special people 😉.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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This is crazy, but....I've actually thought of it. Part of my "just in case" mentality.

Imagine armed thugs break into your house, you're helpless, doom and gloom is your future. You could be a gracious hostage and say, "Would you psychopathic gentlemen like some wine?"

Wine saves the day...again.
Arsenic and old lace
 

Rice_Guy

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Bitter flavor goes along with many natural toxins.

You would be unlikely to have technology to isolate the toxin. I would not expect that alcohol or yeast change any toxic property. The best I could say is that lots of plants have a dosage response and if you pick the right dose you may be OK. I would check medicinal use before experimenting.

Safety point, lock it up so neighbors or your kids never get close to it. The district attorney would find you liable. , , , kids do dumb things.

Commercial folks would wind up in court, even if not consumed it would be considered adulterated food.
 

bitterbad

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I did read an article about deadly nightshade vs a similar looking non deadly night shade. Like BigDaveK I'm an adventurous but I'm gonna skip that one. Apparently an ancient Greek cult made a Bacchus wine from nightshade berries, herbs and grapes. It was consumed before dancing and orgies. So they think.
Could you link that article or at least point me in the right direction to find it? that sounds particularly interesting to me
 

suzyq2

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Could you link that article or at least point me in the right direction to find it? that sounds particularly interesting to me
I was not able to load link but it was from Gardenista Black nightshade: delicious not deadly.
 

BigDaveK

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But how about THREE bean castor bean wine ?
Three beans, four beans, it might not matter. The toxin is VERY popular with military's around the world and is supposed to be 6,000 times more lethal than cyanide. I've been growing it for at least 10 years, one of my favorite plants, and it easily reaches 8 ft every year. And of all the seeds I save each year I think these are the most attractive.

cas 1.jpg cas 2.jpg
 

bitterbad

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Three beans, four beans, it might not matter. The toxin is VERY popular with military's around the world and is supposed to be 6,000 times more lethal than cyanide. I've been growing it for at least 10 years, one of my favorite plants, and it easily reaches 8 ft every year. And of all the seeds I save each year I think these are the most attractive.
.... why do you grow it if it's so poisonous? I know that castor oil can be used medicinally for constipation, do you extract the oil from it? Or do you just keep it around because it's pretty? Or are you actually an aspiring assassin..... hmmmm
 

BigDaveK

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.... why do you grow it if it's so poisonous? I know that castor oil can be used medicinally for constipation, do you extract the oil from it? Or do you just keep it around because it's pretty? Or are you actually an aspiring assassin..... hmmmm
I have dozens of plants on the property with medicinal properties and/or are toxic/poisonous. As a country wine maker it's VERY important to know your ingredients if you're foraging. The castor bean is primarily planted for looks. Secondary reason? I can't talk about it. :D
 
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