Summer gardens and menus are filled with nightshade foods

10 Nightshade Foods Now in Season

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

Nightshade foods all contain alkaloid compounds that are naturally produced by the plants to protect them against insects. Some people may be sensitive to these compounds and experience problems with nerve, muscle and joint function or digestion. Cooking lowers the alkaloid content of these foods by 40-50%, but that may not be enough to allow highly sensitive people to enjoy them. Anyone who suspects they may be sensitive to nightshade foods can safely eliminate them for 2-3 weeks to see if it improves their condition.


1. Tomato – Eaten raw on sandwiches and in salads; squeezed for juices; widely used to make sauces, soups, curries, casseroles; found in condiments such as catsup, salsa, relish.


2. Eggplant – Classic dishes include eggplant parmesan and rollatini (Italian cheese-filled), ratatouille (French vegetable stew), baba ghanoush (Arabic spread), baingan bartha (Indian curry), moussaka (Greek minced meat pie). It is prepared deep fried, stir fried, grilled, roasted, baked and as a pizza topping.


3. Potato – Green or sprouted areas reflect high alkaloid content, though it is caused by chlorophyll, not alkaloids. Eaten fried, baked, mashed, boiled, roasted, stuffed; added to soups, stews, casseroles, eggs, salads; dehydrated and reformulated as patties, nuggets, coatings, thickener.


4. Peppers – Includes sweet and hot bell peppers and chili peppers; the spices paprika and cayenne; Tabasco Sauce; and all foods prepared or seasoned with them.


5. Pepino – Resembles a melon so sometimes called pepino melon, but closer in size to an apple. Common in markets selling foods from Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, but also cultivated in California, Hawaii New Zealand, and Western Australia.


6. Pimento – Also called the cherry pepper or “pimiento” in Spanish. Eaten fresh, pickled or jarred and as a stuffing in green olives and in pimento-cheese and pimento loaf.



7. Tomatillo – Also called ground cherry, Mexican tomato and green tomato (not to be confused with under ripe green tomatoes). Is the key ingredient in green sauces used in Latin American cuisine.


8. Gooseberry – Used in fruited desserts such as pies, crisps, cobblers and crumbles; preserved as jam; extracts flavor beverages and syrups. cuisine.


9. Goji Berry – Also called wolfberry, used in many Asian dishes; often dried then reconstituted in rice congee and almond jelly; made into an herbal tea, wine and beer. cuisine.



10. Tamarillo – Used in chutneys and curries, added to stews, found in some fruit compotes and desserts. Native plant in the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and the cuisine from those regions. cuisine

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