"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jostaberry

I picked and froze the last of our jostaberries the other day, jostaberries being a cross between a black currant and gooseberry. Our oldest bush and the parent plant of numerous others is now around 4-5 years old and starting to produce fairly well. I think we picked almost gallon off it this year. We have many more "starts" ranging from 5 months to 3 years old and are excited at the prospects of reaping ever increasing harvests going forward.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this plant when compared to our gooseberries and currants is that the fruits, in our garden, ripen much later helping us to avoid any problems with currant flys that so often plague the latter two. The flavor can best be described as sweet and tart, I have a feeling we will enjoy using it in various recipes in the future. It is not as tasty as a goosberry but if you take into consideration it's lack of pest issues the flavor gap becomes less noticable. One other thing I like about this particular plant is that the fruits do not fall off everytime the wind blows like our currants tend to do. The berries are firmly attached, almost too firmly.

Gooseberry >


Jostaberry >

22 comments:

thyme2garden said...

I've never even heard of jostaberries, but they look really good! To my untrained eye, they resemble blueberries a bit, but maybe that's because I haven't seen many currants or gooseberries in my life, either. Are these jostaberries sweet enough to eat fresh, or do you use it for jam or baking?

vrtlarica said...

I know that I have heard somewhere about jostaberries, but have never seen them, except on a picture.
I also have the question like thyme2garden - can you make a jam from it? Based on your explanation of a taste, I somehow think that it would make a good jam.

kitsapFG said...

Never grown these or tasted them before. How tall and wide does the plant get when mature?

Ayak said...

I've also never heard of them before but they sound wonderful!

meemsnyc said...

Oooh, never heard of jostaberry before either. It looks cool! I'm curious also, how large do these bushes get?

meemsnyc said...

Also, can it be planted near other berry plants like blueberries, blackberries?

Mr. H. said...

Thyme2garden & Vrtlarica - We eat ours fresh and also freeze them to be used in smoothies. They are supposed to make excellent jams, pies, and many people use them to make wine as well. I do look forward to useing them for jam in the future as our production increases.

KitsapFG - The plants can easily get 6' tall and 4' wide but they can also be trimmed into smaller bushes. I think you would like them, and they love cold rainy weather and shade too.:)

Ayak - They will grow where ever currants do and have a somewhat similar flavor...are there currant bushes in Turkey?

Meemsnyc - They are very disease resistant and as far as I know can grow next to any other berry bushes, ours are next to the raspberries. They pretty much get as big as you let them. They can be pruned back for a smaller bush. Ours are about 6' tall by 4' wide. They are a pretty neat berry.:)

Anisah of South Dakota said...

What zone are you in? I realize northern Idaho, but just wondering its planting zone. I'm in zone 4 and would love to plant some more berry plants that could tolerate this climate...and wondering if jostaberries, since they are related to gooseberries might be a good choice.

Ayak said...

I've not seen currant bushes here..but then I've not looked for them. We have blackberries growing wil almost everywhere though. I'm sure they would grow here

Mr. H. said...

Anisah - We are right on the division between zone 5-6. Jostaberries are supposed to be hardy from zones 3-8 so they should do well for you in that respect.

Ayak - It is always interesting to me to see what plants we have in common...there seems to be quite a few.

Thomas said...

Very interesting. I had never heard of this berry before. Definitely something to consider for next year.
Thanks for the info!

Heiko said...

I must look into more berry production, because I love them. So far I have tried currants, raspeberries and gooseberries which all died on me within a year. Maybe a matter of finding the right terrace (more shade or on the lower terraces where it is more humid), or better soil preparation or more pampering during the early years. After all strawberries and apples thrive here, so why not berries? We'll get there eventually.

kitsapFG said...

Wow! Likes cool rainy weather and shade! I definitely need to look into these. :D

Mr. H. said...

Thomas & Laura - It truly is a fine type of berry bush. While a currant will start producing in a couple years these seem to take 3-4, similar to a gooseberry, but it is definitely worth the wait.

Heiko - I would agree that if an apple can handle your warmer climate/winters that raspberries and currants should be able to as well. I do think you have a good idea on growing them on the lower terraces though. Currants in particular like a slightly shady location with some humidity.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, those look wonderful. I adore any type of berry. I grew up in Michigan and was spoiled on wild berries. I just wish I could grow raspberries and blackberries. My children love them. I am going to try growing strawberries and blueberries here in SW Florida. I found a great source locally for blueberry "plants".
Peace and RAW Health to You,
Elizabeth

Amy said...

I planted jostaberries last year and was hoping to get a taste this year but no such joy.

Mr. H. said...

Elizabeth - Blueberries and strawberries would make a nice addition, if you get the plants I hope yours do well for you. The wild berries are some of my favorites and I hope to get out and collect some more soon.

Amy - Hopefully next year they will produce for you. You will have to tell me what you think of how they taste as I have a hard time describing it.

meemsnyc said...

Thank you so much for your blueberry comment on my blog. You solved the mystery of the yellowing and reddish brown leaves. I'll look into adding more sulfur to the soil to balance out the PH. It's interesting, I have 2 blueberry plants and one is showing the yellow leaves. The other one is completely green. I planted them 3 feet apart. You would think they would both have the soil problem.

I have to find a place that sells Jostaberries! I'm obsessed with planting berry fruit plants. We planted this year, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry! :)

Sense of Home said...

Very interesting, I have never heard of a jostaberry.

-Brenda

Mr. H. said...

meemsnyc - No problem, glad I could help.

Brenda - I hope you get a chance to try them one day, they are a very nice berry.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Great work Mr H! Hadnt heard of jostaberries either. The folks back here dont have many berries - and no unusual ones, for sure.

Hope you are enjoying those "weeds" - the blackberries. They were a nuisance when I lived in Seattle.. but back here they are priced like gold!

Mr. H. said...

Ohiofarmgirl - I wish they grew like weeds in our area as they do in seattle. It is interesting how each of us have crops that flourish with little assistance while others struggle to get them to grow. Our blackberries barely made it through the winter a couple years ago but are looking pretty good this year...still green though.:)

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