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Mr. Smarty Plants - Wine from Ampelopsis arborea?

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Wednesday - September 06, 2006

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Wine from Ampelopsis arborea?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, can you eat or make wine from the fruit of Ampelopsis arborea? I have found a few vines that are very fruitful and are ready to pick!

ANSWER:

Here are quotes from a couple of people who have tried the berries of Peppervine (Ampelopsis arborea).

Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says: "Its black berries are inedible and taste awful, but I have found no reports of toxicity. Peppervine may cause dermatitis."

From The Useful Wild Plants of Texas, the Southeastern and Southwestern United States, the Southern Plains, and Northern Mexico (Vol. 1) by Scooter Cheatham, Marshall Johnston, and Lynn Marshall: "We have found A. arborea fruits to vary widely in flavor, from bland or insipid to slightly sweet and peppery, but more often we have been in agreement with those who feel that the fruits should not be placed in the mouths of humans, especially when there are so many other more palatable wild fruits available."

I did find one toxic plant database, Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, from North Carolina State University that lists Ampelopsis spp. It says that the berries are "questionably poisonous, but use caution" and lists the severity as "causes only low toxicity if eaten."

So, it's rather doubtful if its worth the time and effort (not to mention the sugar) to make something that probably wouldn't taste very good and could potentially cause gastric upset.

 

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