Turkey Berries, also known as Prickly Nightshade and wild Egg plant belongs to the Egg Plant family. We have a few plants in our home garden and make stew with the berries now and then. But, what to do when you have so much of berries in the plant ? You can not make stew and eat it everyday. If you leave the berries in the plant they will ripe and go to waste.
An efficient way to preserve the surplus berries is to dry and store them for long time use.
This instructable will guide you on how to dry Turkey berries.
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Step 1: Harvest the Berries
You may find that the Turkey berry plant grows so wild with so many branches and fruits. Just prune the branches with matured berries.
Separate the stems with the fruits from the harvested branches.
The stems have few young fruits also along with matured ones. Pluck the fruits and store them in separate container, the matured fruits in one container and the young fruits in another. The matured fruits can be processed and dried for storage and we will make a stew with the young fruits.
Please see my other instructable on how to make a Turkey berry stew at this link...
Step 2: Crush the Berries
- Wash the matured berries in clean water
- Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush each fruit and keep in another container
Step 3: Separate Seeds
- Put the crushed berries in a container with lots of water
- Stir the berries vigorously in water with your hands for about four to five minutes
- Remove the berries by hand and keep in another vessel
- Now most of the seeds are separated from berries and remain at the bottom of the container. You can discard this water with seeds or use the water to irrigate the plants. These seeds are immature and won't germinate.
Step 4: Soak the Crushed Berries
- Take about half a liter of curd and mix with about one liter of water
- Add handful of crystal salt to the mix and put the crushed berries in it
- Keep this aside and let the berries soak in curd water for couple of days
Step 5: Remove the Berries for Drying
- After two days you can drain out the liquid through a strainer.
- Do not throw away the liquid. Dilute with more water and use it for your garden plants
- Spread a clean cloth in a bamboo basket or any such accessory.
- Transfer the soaked berries to the cloth and spread it evenly.
- Keep it in shade for drying. Stir the berries with hand from time to time for even drying.
Step 6: Sun-dry the Berries
- After about ten days most of the moisture from the berries have evaporated and the berries are almost dry. But they still contain moisture.
- Now remove the cloth and spread a clean paper on the bamboo basket.
- Place the partially dried berries over the paper and keep it in the sun.
- If the sunlight is good, the berries will be completely dried in four to five days, otherwise it may take longer.
See the last picture of the completely dried berries which are stored in a container for long time use.
Step 7: How to Use the Dried Berries
Take a handful of berries, heat some oil and stir-fry the dried berries. this takes just five minutes and serves as a side dish with rice.
You can also use the dried berries to make stew to be eaten with rice, chapatis and roti