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Best elder-gooseberry-currants for Ohio valley Zone 6

 
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Never tasted any of them but was going to order 3-4 cultivars of each to test on my site and wondering which varieties taste best fresh or for smoothies? Also which ones will sell best? Or crosses like jostaberry I know there are more out there.

Has anyone done taste tests? Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 119
Location: Central Indiana
22
kids books homestead
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I've not had elderberries or currants but i've been raised around gooseberries and have some at my place now.  I like them but i wouldn't recommend them for smoothies.  Gooseberries are a touch seedy for smoothies.  Also, with gooseberries early in the season when they're green they're sour.  This is when i like them best. Raw as a snack, halved and tossed in a fruit salad for a kick, or i've turned them into jam.  The upside for JAM is there is no need for pectin.  The green berries have enough naturally occuring pectin.  My wife enjoys them later in the season when they start to turn a purple color.  They lose their tartness and gain a very nice sweetness.  At this time they'd probably be ok for a smoothy.  The bigger issue is if you let them get purple the birds will be on them in no time unless you net them.  

Other things (good or bad) that i've noticed.
1) They spread.  Birds eat them no matter what you do and then poop them out somewhere else.  I have them in one spot initially.  3 of my neighbor's have them now in their fence and i've spotted them under several trees in the neighborhood now.  Seed grown ones aren't always 100% faithful to what you plant, but they're pretty close.
2) Easy to propagate.
3) Good brush for nesting animals or small animals looking to get out of the sun.  My cats love it in the summer.  Bunnies love them as well.
4) Thorns.  They have them...doesn't really mater the variety.  Easy enough to avoid them but they are there.
5) Good fence row.  You can grow them along a fence and or treat them like a fence row.  If they're in full sun they can get to about 6-7ft tall for older canes.  They can get dense enough to keep most things out except small animals that will go under them against the ground.
6) They do need pruned from time to time.  Especially if you find dead/unproductive canes or canes that have mold on the them.  Not hard to do in the fall/winter (that's when i prune mine).
7) I've peeled them and used them similar to willow trees to make a rooting water with some degree of success.  Not as good as willow but still passable if you have nothing else.


Hopefully someone can provide you the same thing for the others that i have provided here for the gooseberries, but i lack the specifics for them.
 
Jonathan Ward
pollinator
Posts: 119
Location: Central Indiana
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Sorry as to the growing in your zone, as long as you don't put them in the bottoms and they can drain they'll thrive just about anywhere in your zone.  They're pretty tough.  Not blackberry tough, but they're not a fan of standing water.
 
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So, the taste is only slightly variety dependent.   Soil, moisture, and other factors play as big or bigger part with elder in my experience.

Also, elder historically is rarely consumed fresh, canadensis is more fit for this than nigra, but elderberries are not like rasp, straw, blacks, and blues.  

I am just tossing historical pics in for fun!
1872-Farm-and-Home-Cookbook.JPG
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M Kreiger
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Thanks for the info. Gurneys nursery is only a few miles away so I thought I’d start with their varieties. I think all ribes have to be lab tested before importing to Ohio as I’ve noticed I can get most varieties but most nurseries only deliver one or two varieties to Ohio. Anyways, I got a few to try.

I have 490 feet of fence line and a huge shaded  hugel bed to plant. About 300’ is shade or part shade. I have some plums, pears and brambles to plant the line and am adding ribes , persimmon and asparagus After planting I will add strawberries, miners lettuce and sorrel.

I keep saying I will post pics but they’re mostly on my wife’s phone
 
M Kreiger
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Tried to get some photos from above
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About 90’ waiting for compost and soil
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About 100’ and 4 truckloads of dirt over many trees and honey suckle hugel bed
 
gardener
Posts: 3060
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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M Kreiger, do you have the address of Gurneys nursery?
I can see that they have a PO box in a town near Lawrenceberg but I can't find a physical address.
I ask,  because they have a  reputation for delivering dead or dying plants (and no refunds)   but if one could pick up the plants on person, that problem would be solved.
 
M Kreiger
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I asked once and they wouldn’t let me. I had good luck with healthy plants but I get my deliveries in 24 hours or less. Burpee has been packaged the best so far with Stark Bro’s close behind. From all reports I’ve seen gurney will replace but they will make you wait until next spring to prove it’s dead. Haven’t had any to request yet. Sign up for the mailist and wait for the coupons. I haven’t bought anything without 50% off.
 
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