• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

Best tasting nitrogen fixing berry bush?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 2021
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
69
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, there are lots to choose from, but which tastes best?
While I'm at it, which is most marketable,in case they are not the same.
I am  certainly down with variety, but with limited resources, I'd like to aim for the best, first.
I'm in zone 6, for what it's worth.
 
Posts: 39
Location: san diego ca
2
forest garden greening the desert purity
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i have a seedling goumi and it taste ok (sweet, sour and a little astringent) , the named varietys are suppose to be alot better (sweet scarlet, red gem)
 
pollinator
Posts: 252
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 5b
36
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll put forward seaberry aka sea buckthorn.  Also, buffalo berries but they are not the greatest on their own, but for jams and pies they can be mixed with other berries
 
Posts: 146
Location: Boudamasa, Chad
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm a big fan of Russian Olive, but to market it you would need to make it into a product like jam. It's just that tart.
 
Posts: 13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nathanael Szobody wrote:I'm a big fan of Russian Olive, but to market it you would need to make it into a product like jam. It's just that tart.




Isn't Autumn Olive supposed to be a bit sweeter?  Mine were put in last summer so it'll be fall by the time I can answer that..
 
Nathanael Szobody
Posts: 146
Location: Boudamasa, Chad
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ken Zemach wrote:Isn't Autumn Olive supposed to be a bit sweeter?  Mine were put in last summer so it'll be fall by the time I can answer that..



Yes, that's what I meant!  Autumn Olive, not Russian Olive...
 
Posts: 179
Location: ALASKA
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Autumn olive makes a very tasty jelly.  It is also good as  autumn olive/apple jelly or mixed with any other berry.
 
William Bronson
pollinator
Posts: 2021
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
69
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Autumn olive is sweet/tart then?
Should it make a good beverage?
 
Nathanael Szobody
Posts: 146
Location: Boudamasa, Chad
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

William Bronson wrote:Autumn olive is sweet/tart then?
Should it make a good beverage?



I would think it would be a fantastic beverage. Super tart but sweeter then say lemon. Still, for a popular pallet I would think you would need to add sugar.
 
Posts: 13
Location: Rocky Mountains, British Columbia zone 4b?
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You'd have to give it a new name too. "Olive juice" just doesn't sound appealing!
 
Walt Chase
Posts: 179
Location: ALASKA
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

William Bronson wrote:Autumn olive is sweet/tart then?
Should it make a good beverage?



And astringent.  Needs LOTS of sugar and/or mixed with the juice of another fruit.  That said I like the flavor. 
 
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
20
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I give a big double thumbs-up to goumi.  I have in fact become something of an evangelist for goumi.  I've been so satisfied with them in my own food forest that they are always one of the first species I suggest for people in my area (zone 7-8, Southern Appalachian foothills).  Attractive enough to be an ornamental (except perhaps for the occasional thorn), fast growing, non-invasive (unlike some of the other members of their genus), and so very productive.  I've known them to shrug off droughts and otherwise to be virtually indestructible: I've had dozens of goumi for 6 or 7 years now, and have barely lost a one for any reason.  In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a goumi leaf with a bite out of it.

Now I have only the common named cultivars, so I can't comment on what the seedlings might taste like, but mine are tasty as hell.  Very sweet if you pick them at the peak of ripeness.  Still very flavorful, if tart, when you're impatient and pick them sooner.

Elaeagnus multiflora!  Accept no substitutes.
 
Posts: 66
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm new to berry plants being legumes.  Really? Or only some? Very few, I'd think. Maybe legumes aren't the only nitrogen fixers out there?

I got seabuckthorn seeds stratifying in the fridge. Should I have inoculated them first, as we do with peas and beans?
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
20
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nick Dimitri wrote:I'm new to berry plants being legumes.  Really? Or only some? Very few, I'd think. Maybe legumes aren't the only nitrogen fixers out there?

I got seabuckthorn seeds stratifying in the fridge. Should I have inoculated them first, as we do with peas and beans?


The majority of N-fixers are legumes, but not all.  My goumi and your seabuckthorns are both examples of the non-leguminous varieties.  As for inoculating them, you could still do so before planting them; they just need it before getting into the soil.  Honestly I'm not sure if standard pea/bean/clover inoculant will do anything to help them, but it also probably can't hurt.  Inoculation is a great boost up, but it shouldn't technically be necessary; most needed bugs are already in the soil, even if it takes longer for them to establish a strong colony on your roots.  I didn't inoculate any of my goumi, and they are thriving nonetheless.  Then again, they may have been inoculated at the nursery.

I will be curious to see if someone more knowledgeable than myself can clarify about non-legume inoculation practices.
 
Posts: 36
Location: Central Texas
6
greening the desert cooking trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was thinking of planting Sea Buckthorn on my Southern slope, but people say it doesn't do that well in Texas, it's too hot. I think the only Nitrogen fixer I can bet on is acacia, but it's not edible, I don't think.
 
gardener
Posts: 2448
106
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They have a different type of nitrogen-fixing bacteria on the nodules of their roots.  Alder has yet another.

I love goumi and autumn olive.  Sometimes I put autumn olive berries on grains or salads.  I also one called silverberry, which isn't quite as good, but I'm eating it now (April and May) and it's evergreen.

John S
PDX OR

 
William Bronson
pollinator
Posts: 2021
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
69
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the feedback,keep it coming!
I'm interested in a juice business.
My ten year old girl wants to sell at the farmers market,and homemade natural beverages would be a hit.
She will be 14 before we have enough homegrown  anything to sell, but I'm planning for my "retirement" as well.

Silverberry is kind of the reason for my query in the first place!
It ticks so many boxes, he'll I could grow it in my front yard with none the wiser, but I wasn't sure about taste.
I have plenty of fodder options, so growing any food just for the animals is sub par to say the least.

So, some more questions:
Of the nitrogen fixing berries, which are good dried?
Which would you add to a smoothy?
Which produce the most juice (I think some of them are described as "mealie" )
Juicing tends to produce a lot of pulp.
Do any of these berries seem suitable for fruit leather?
Do any have edible leaves?

Culinary use aside, do any stand out for other reasons,such as ease of cultivation or propagation?

 
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
171
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm sorry to say, I don't much like the sea buckthorn or russian olive berries that we get here. And I'm an avid wild food eater, and I like bitter foods and weird foods.

The sea buckthorn is soooo sour, that to make it palatable even as a tart drink, you have to add a huge amount of sugar. I've seen people here on permies say they liked their sea buckthorn berries though, so maybe our variety is much sourer than what you get in the US. It's native here. Also, it has such vicious thorns, oh my goddess! It's hard to collect for that reason. We lay tarps underneath the bushes and then whack them with sticks. We dry them and then the following summer, soak and sugar them for juice. When fresh, I eat one at a time for such a sour rush it makes a shiver up the spine. (and I like fairly sour foods)

The russian olive berries here don't ripen to orange or red, only cream color or yellowish. I know kids here who say they like to eat them, but I find them unpleasantly astringent in the mouth. It's native here too. I like the tree though. It is grown here as an ornamental for the extravagantly fragrant flowers every June. The tree reaches about 30 feet here, and it pollards nicely (you can whack it off at chest height and it will sprout vigorously). The wood is extremely dense, and looks like it would make an attractive heavy-grained polished surface, kind of as if it were two-toned oak.

Both of them are nitrogen fixers though they are not legumes. They grow well in our desert climate, with inadequate irrigation, and cold winters. I have not tasted autumn olive but I hear it tastes better.
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2448
106
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Silver berry has kind of chewable seed inside it. It's not very juicy. I don't recommend it for juice. One other thing about it-it has an unbelievable fragrance! The daphne of the autumn.  The main thing about the berry is it's the only berry I can harvest in April.  Also evergreen.  I don't know about it's hardiness.

Autumn olive berries are very small-like huckleberries.  Like wild blueberries instead of selected varieties.  They could be great in a smoothie. They grow easily from cuttings and are invasive back East.

Goumi is less juicy but larger. For some reason when we dried them they got moths and bug in them. Can also be put into casseroles, salads, etc.

Sea berries are very flavorful, but I think everyone drinks them in a mix. It doesn't have to be with sugar. It could be with water and another juice.   I like one, but like Rebecca said, they are very powerful. That's how I eat European black currant-one flavorful small berry. 

John S
PDX OR
 
Tatiana Trunilina
Posts: 36
Location: Central Texas
6
greening the desert cooking trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sea Buckthorn juice is mixed with water and sugar (or honey for the less processed version), you never drink it straight up! I believe it can even hurt the stomach lining like straight lemon juice. You juice it and store the juice in the fridge, and to make beverage you mix it with water and sweetener and voila, a delicious somewhat tart and very good for you drink. You can even freeze the undiluted juice, or make popsicles out of the diluted sweetened juice for long term storage.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
20
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Goumi (like the other silverberry species) does indeed have a single large seed per berry.  It is edible, being chewable, and I've read that it's actually very nutritious, but it is also fibrous and in my opinion doesn't enhance the flavor of the berries.  I usually either spit out or swallow hole.

I'm not sure about juicing them, but Goumi would certainly make excellent jam or pie filling.  For these uses, though, you'd have to boil up a large batch of berries and either pass them through a food mill or press them through a strainer in order to separate the pulp from the seeds.  Doable, but an extra step.  I once tried baking a pie with whole berries, thinking that the cooking would soften up the seeds.  It didn't, and I couldn't get over the sensation of a mouthful of seeds with each bite.

So, this Spring I have taken to occasionally making breakfast smoothies with fresh fruit and weed greens from my yard.  I even have a bunch of goose grass and purple deadnettle pre-measured, shrink-wrapped, and stored in my freezer so I can continue the practice throughout the year; I currently buy the fruit from the store.  I also like to make excellent fritters with the goose grass!  But I digress...  since then, I've had a flash of inspiration: I am betting that whole, frozen goumi berries would be a great smoothie addition!  So long as I blend them thoroughly, the seeds should liquefy and thus no longer pose a problem!  I will be sure to report back on the results this season once I've actually tried this.  My own berries are due in at the end of this month.

BTW, John made two excellent points above: 1) a plus of goumi is the early harvest, whereas some other elaeagnus species are autumn harvest, when one often has a lot of tree fruits coming in at the same time; and 2) they aren't really too juicy.  Somewhat juicy, but I think it would be less about "juicing" them and more about boiling them up with lots of water and then blending and straining the result.  That's just a guess, though.
 
William Bronson
pollinator
Posts: 2021
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
69
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would actually like to use a steam juicer, which should work great with what you describe of Goumi.
The early fruit means a lot as well.
The freezing of fruit, syrup, juice, pulp, etc is part of the plan.
While not low tech, freezing food is amazingly efficient, and probably the easiest way to preserve food.
An acquaintance is selling frozen quarts of soup at market.
Fresh frozen juices are similar.
I even know a beekeeper, to keep the sweetening local.
He is also doing vinegar from spent brewing grain.
Shrubs anyone?
I'm aiming at making the fruit heavy food forest model pay for my family.
A highly nutritious "waste" product like the Goumi seed sound perfect for chicken feed, if not human.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steam juicer, eh?  That's a new one on me.
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2448
106
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just to clarify, in my semi-normal kind of zone 8 Northern climate, silver berry eleagnus ebbingei x is REALLY early (April and May) and has a very big chewable seed.

Goumi is early (June here) and has a moderately sized chewable seed.

John S
PDX OR
 
pollinator
Posts: 373
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
24
dog duck hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any berry bush will accumulate nitrogen if you allow birds to do their thing. The more you give to them, the more nitrogen and other high quality nutrients they will trade. They have pretty much one-in, one-out digestive systems and trade nitrogen rich manure for the goodies in the fruit. Having tall fruit trees at the top of your property will passively fertilize downstream.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
20
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ben Zumeta wrote:Any berry bush will accumulate nitrogen if you allow birds to do their thing. The more you give to them, the more nitrogen and other high quality nutrients they will trade. They have pretty much one-in, one-out digestive systems and trade nitrogen rich manure for the goodies in the fruit. Having tall fruit trees at the top of your property will passively fertilize downstream.


Excellent point!  : )
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2448
106
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
THey are kings of phosphorus as well. We are nearing peak phosphorus.  The guano mines off the islands of S. America have made a few into zillionaires, but they are all mined out. Phosphorus is getting very expensive very quickly.  While they are at it, they eat mosquitos, apple maggots, and codling moth..  Some people even like to hear their song, and think they're pretty.
John S
PDX OR
 
Posts: 80
Location: cornwall, england
7
books tiny house urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sea buckthorn!
I even had some really fancy chocolates with sea buckthorn and green tea filling.
I think it strongly depends on cultivar, I had some in Norway that I lovedddddd
 
These are not the droids you are looking for. Perhaps I can interest you in a tiny ad?
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!