Botanical Name: Ribes × nidigrolaria
Species:R. × nidigrolaria
Common Names: Jostaberry
Jostaberries were bred in Germany. The first official cultivar of Jostaberry was developed in Cologne by plant breeder Dr Rudolph Bauer. It was introduced to the public in 1977 and today, Jostaberries can be found in Europe, Australia and in North America. The Jostaberry plant prefers temperate climates and can tolerate temperatures that dip to 4 degrees Celcius. The Jostaberry plant is resistant to various diseases and pests that plague other currant and berry bushes. It prefers moist, well-drained soils. In America, different varieties of Jostaberries have been developed, such as the Orus 8 – first bred in Oregon and notable for its very sweet berries and red highlights in the fruit.
A gooseberry and currant cross! The rich berry taste is reminiscent of gooseberry with a kiss of black currant. Deep-red, almost-black fruit is high in vitamin C and forms in large clusters, ideal for juices, jams and jellies, and fresh-eating. Cold-hardy plants are long-lived, thornless, and productive once established. Debuted in 1977. The name “jostaberry” itself is a combination of the German word for blackcurrant, “Johannisbeere” and for gooseberry, “Stachelbeere”. Disease-resistant to American gooseberry mildew, black currant leaf spot, white pine blister rust, and big bud gall mite. Ripens in July. Self-pollinating. (Ribes × nidigrolaria)
Jostaberries are purple berries that grow on thornless bushes with deeply-veined green leaves that feature serrated edges and irregular lobes. When young, the berries are a light green, and closely resemble a small gooseberry. They hang firmly on their stems, in clusters of three to five. As they mature, they deepen in color, going from green to red before they turn a glossy violet-black, indicating that they are ripe. Each berry can grow to 10 millimeters in diameter. The tangy-sweet berries taste of gooseberries with a slight flavor of black currant and grape.
The development of the Jostaberry came from experiments following a gooseberry craze that swept England and America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. At its height, gooseberry appreciation clubs were not uncommon in both countries. Gooseberries were first cultivated in English and Dutch gardens. The berries were brought to America by English colonists, where they became almost as popular as they were in England. Starting in the late 1800s through the 1900s, gardeners and breeders in Europe began experimenting by crossing gooseberries with other berries, including the black currant. Although experiments were interrupted during the two World Wars, the Germans persisted with the various strains, working to make them viable as a plant crop. The Jostaberry, first made available to the public in 1977, is the result of such experiments. Jostaberries are not grown commercially but are favored by home gardeners particularly in England and the United States. They are appreciated for their rich, berry taste. A 2009 article in British newspaper The Guardian described the Jostaberry as “a sort of jumbo black currant that makes a cracking crumble”, referring to the fruit crumble dessert.
Jostaberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. In studies, the extracts and juice of the Jostaberry have been found to have anti-fungal properties, as well as inhibitive effects on some bacteria, such as E. coli.
Jostaberries may be eaten fresh. They also are used to make jams, relishes and chutneys. They can be found in desserts such as pies and crumbles and can be processed to make cordials and fruit wines. Jostaberries can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator. They may be frozen after being washed, and the stems removed. They can last for several months in the freezer
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.