loligo: (anemone)
[personal profile] loligo
Goumi is a fruiting shrub that gets praised a lot in permaculture literature because it is so multi-purpose: it is a nitrogen fixer, it will fruit in part shade, and it is nutritious and (supposedly) tasty.

I planted one a couple years ago, and finally had some fruit this spring. Here are my impressions:

(1) The frequent comparisons to pie cherries are somewhat on target. The goumi berries lack that ineffable cherry-ness, but they have the same basic balance of sweet and tart that pie cherries do. They last on the bush for a long time (many people report problems with robins stealing all their crop, but mine were left alone) and they keep getting sweeter the longer they stay there. My kids refused to eat them, saying that they were too sour, and I have NO IDEA what they're talking about. My kids will eat red currants right off the bush, and to me the taste of the goumis was far milder than red currants. But whatever, kids -- more for me! I found them to be a very enjoyable nibble.

(2) The seeds are large, relative to the fruit size. There's a single seed in every berry. Many sources say that the seeds are edible, but I found them a bit too tough and chewy for my taste, so I prefer to spit them out. Supposedly if you make goumi raisins, the seeds are less noticeable.

(3) They are fiddly to harvest and clean. The berries hold fast to the branches, the stems come off with the berries, and the dried blooms often clings to the ends. I put a bunch in the fridge without picking the stems and blooms off, and several days later the blooms had gotten all moldy and I had to pitch the whole mess. I think the berries would have kept much better if I'd picked all that off. Consequently, I did not get to try cooking them, but I suspect they would make good jelly.

(4) The bush is problem free, as far as I can tell, and I live in an area afflicted with many fungal diseases. Practically everything in my yard has some sort of scab or blight or rust on it by midsummer, while the goumi looks fresh and clean. It grows quickly, the flowers are pretty and fragrant, and it really does fruit in part shade, as advertised.

So, in my experience the fruit quality is not so high that I would say "OMG you should plant it no matter what!" but if the plant's other benefits would be useful for you, then it's definitely worth your time.
loligo: (anemone)
[personal profile] loligo
I bought one plant from Raintree Nursery five years ago, of the variety 'Profumata di Tortona". For the first two years, it produced tons and tons of runners, but no flowers, so that by the third year I had a decent sized patch of it. The third year, all the plants that were a year or two old bloomed extravagantly, but not a single blossom set fruit!

the whole saga, including taste test )

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Permaculture: Food From Sustainable Landscapes

November 2012

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