Angelika Maier wrote:I am not brown fingered but my first raisin tree died and the second one is suffering. Water? Soil?
I think we need more info to go on. What type of soil do you have? What is your zone? Good drainage or poor? What are the symptoms the plants displayed?
Alder Burns wrote:I had this years ago in GA and it was pretty much a disappointment if you are into serious food production. The tree grew fast and easily, which means the small edible "stems" are often pretty far up there. They are more chewable than edible, being quite fibrous.....sort of like a date with the texture of sugar cane. You would have to munch on a lot of them, which would take hours, to get anything approaching a meal. The things cling to the tree, so there's no way to shake them down and gather them in bulk, which would make juicing, wine, or some such more of a possibility. Ditto for chickens. So it's really more of a novelty than anything else. Perhaps wild birds might relish them. Or a fun sweet munchie for tree-climbing children!
I read you're supposed to wait for them to fall off the tree before eating them. Could it be you're trying to harvest them too early or do they really stick on there good?
D. Logan wrote:I am often looking for edibles that the average person isn't familiar with. Things that are either edible only if treated properly or which are so unusual that people don't recognize them as food.
I posted about how to make a certain invasive weed delicious on this post:
Eating pepperweed and loving it (Lepidium latfolium)
I rubbed a bit of chamomile into it, I don't know why, yarrow might have been better.
I'm not sure how well it will grow here in the UK though.
I've read up and it seems like there are several non agreeing techniques.
I'm going to scarify maybe half, along with other seeds that need similar treatments. If I need to stratify I can later.
One source said they will swell after scarification and soaking for several days, similar to a locust.
I'll report back, they seem like very tough little seeds so I have no doubt they need some help to get through the seed coat.
Alder, I think you were eating them too soon. As the previous poster mentioned, from what I've read they fall to the ground when ripe. I'm curious to actually try the fruit and visit my friend's tree, haven't gotten the chance yet. I'll report back on that, as well as my germination efforts. Acid and/or hot water are also viable well to get them going.
There is a difference between stratification and scarification. Stratification is cold/hot- they don't appear to need this. Scarification is damage to the protective coating of the seed- one of nature's ways to get the seeds to germinate at different times so that there is a greater chance one of them will survive and grow. Our job is to emulate the natural process of a seed going through an animals gut or something similar.
If I get a chance I'm going to try and take cuttings this coming year as well.
Stupidly, we ended up getting the Evodia but we didn't come back for the Hovenia as it was out of stock at that time.
Pretty rare. Tasty fruit. Hard to harvest I imagine, they get big. I suppose you could keep a lot of them and make sure they're pruned like a bush to ease harvest.
Thanks to all for the advice on scarification. I look forward to trying to grow these soon and posting any more info I have.
They put on 4+ feet of growth in their first summer. Winter lows and windchill of -11 burnt them back to the ground.
3 out of 5 sprouted from the roots the next spring.
Sofar winter temps have been as cold as last year, not much hope for these little fellers.
Supposedly the fruit will 'cure' drunkenness.
I scarified using a technique I far prefer to sandpaper or other methods. I use one of those little nail cutter levers to take a couple of very small nicks out of the hard casing. This is just enough to let water in to swell the seed.
I find sandpaper too fiddly (did I just sand my fingerprints off? Did I just go too far through the seed coat? Am I far ENOUGH through the seed coat?), and boiling water too scary (I've done it a bit and had some success, but since this doesn't seem to replicate real conditions in nature, unless you perhaps had a very small amount of water that was rapidly brought to boiling in a fire, which seems exceptionally uncommon.)
I found the seedlings were not appealing to rodents, which I have a problem with predating perennial seeds that have sprouted - especially nitrogen-fixers.
There's some info about the tree for northern hemisphere at PFAF.org: http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Hovenia+dulcis
PFAF says raisin trees grow from zone 5 to zone 9, but I'm in the equivalent of US zone 10, and they grow fine, although they aren't very deciduous here.
I haven't had a chance to have a harvest yet, but my understanding is that the fruit is not edible, it's the stem behind the fruit that swells and is really sweet. I don't believe these stems fall off.
There's also a video about it from daleys nursery here: https://youtu.be/HWyH6fdlJUM
Medicinally, it's supposed to be a hangover cure.
There's research suggesting it protects the liver from alcohol damage. Also suggested it is anti-oxidant, it helps get rid of free radicals, and anti-allergin. references:http://examine.com/supplements/Hovenia+dulcis/
I (I'm not a doctor, not a naturopath) think it might help with detoxing, and may help you feel better if your diet has been a bit on the junky side.
It is apparently not fussy about soils and can be fairly drought tolerant once established.
It is rich in quercetin, myricetin and health-promoting polysaccharides.
There are published reports of antioxidant, adaptogenic, hepatoprotective, immunostimulatory, anti-diabetic and endothelial strengthening properties in the medical literature.
There are also PubMed abstracts suggesting anti-osteoporotic effects. Nice review article here: www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/pdf/10.1055/s-0030-1249776.pdf
There are case reports of cattle, and possibly goats, being poisoned by over-grazing on hovenia dulcis, so plant away from these animals foraging areas.