5 Variety of Jostaberries (Plus Amazing Facts About Jostaberries)

A bunch of jostaberries on a wooden bowl.

What Are JostaBerries?

Ribes nidigrolaria (Jostaberry) is a medium-sized deciduous fruiting shrub. It is a hybrid between the Black Currant Ribes nigrum, the North American coastal Black Gooseberry Ribes divaricatum, and the European Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa, and belongs to the Grossulariaceae or current family. The leaves of the jostaberry are lobed and make a clean compact growth habit. In the spring, it produces clusters of little flowers, which are followed by small dark spherical fruit. Harvesting takes place around the beginning of Autumn. Fruit develops from the previous year’s growth. Because jostaberries self-fertilize, you’ll only need one bush. They love a sunny spot in the garden with well-draining soil. They can withstand drought and frost. To generate fruit, jostaberry requires a time of chilling.

The name “jostaberry,” which was first used in 1977, is a combination of the German words “Johannisbeere” for blackcurrant and “Stachelbeere” for gooseberry. The jostaberry is a tasty berry that is a mix between a gooseberry and black currant. The jostaberry yields berries that are tasty, sweet, and filling with a pleasant aftertaste.

Starting in early July, and usually, by the second year, it yields very healthy and numerous fruit. With glossy round, firm, plump berries, the berries exhibit the best characteristics of both parents. Vitamin C juice is abundant in this type. This erect bush does not require any pruning.

Once established, cold-hardy plants are long-lived, thornless, and productive. American gooseberry mildew, black currant leaf spot, white pine blister rust, and large bud gall mite are all resistant to the fruit. In July, it ripens.

We’ll look at the numerous jostaberry kinds in this tutorial, but first, let’s look at the origins of this fruit and a general review of jostaberries.

Origins of Jostaberries

There was a desire for gooseberry-like fruits on thornless plants, and William Culverwell, in Yorkshire, England, made the first successful effort to cross blackcurrant with European gooseberry in 1880. Ribes culverwellii was the name given to this hybrid, which was practically sterile. Others later attempted direct crossings between blackcurrant and gooseberry, but the resulting diploid seedlings were sterile and produced little fruit, despite the fact that some fruit was set without fertilization (parthenocarpy).

Because of this early F1 diploid hybrid, jostaberry is commonly misidentified as Ribes culverwelli. Jostaberry, on the other hand, is an F2 fertile amphipolyploid hybrid with complex parentage that was developed later in Germany. In 1926, Paul Lorenz began the technique at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. Over 1000 F1 hybrids have been manufactured in the last 13 years.

Only eight of these made it through WWII and were subsequently relocated to the Erwin Baeur Institute, which opened in 1946. Colchicine was employed by Randolph Baeur to double the number of chromosomes and create fertile tetraploids. There was also backcrossing with gooseberry and blackcurrant parents, resulting in a new F2 generation. Three seedlings were chosen from 15,000 crossings based on vigour, disease resistance, and fertility.

As a result, jostaberry is a product of two first-generation crossings, both of which produced very little fruit.  American gooseberry mildew resistance was found in this F1 hybrid.

The term jostaberry was derived by combining the German words Johannisbeere (“Jo”) and Stachelbeere (“Stachelbeere”) meaning blackcurrant and gooseberry, respectively (“Sta”). In English, it’s pronounced “yostaberry” after the German pronunciation of “J.”

Jostaberries: A Quick Overview

Raw and cooked, the virtually black fruit, which is smaller than a gooseberry and slightly larger than blackcurrant, is edible. It has a taste that is in between gooseberry and blackcurrant, with the gooseberry flavour being stronger in the immature fruit and the blackcurrant notes developing as the fruit ripens.

The mature fruit will remain in the bush until late summer, but it is quite popular with birds. As a gooseberry, the somewhat immature fruit can be utilized in recipes. The fruit, like blackcurrants, freezes well and is high in vitamin C, as are many other members of the Ribes genus.

Because jostaberries are not well suited to mechanical harvesting, commercial production is restricted. Harvesting jostaberries is relatively labour-intensive per kilogramme when compared to most other fruits. The shrub is thornless. However it is more difficult to pluck than blackcurrants.

The plant itself reaches a maximum height of about 2 metres, flowers in mid-spring, and sets and ripens fruit on a schedule similar to that of the blackcurrant. The plant has hybrid vigour, growing and fruiting well and resisting a variety of illnesses that affect other Ribes.  The plant is self-fertile after insect pollination since the flowers are hermaphrodite. Cuttings are used to propagate plants rather than seeds.

Let’s look at some of the different varieties of jostaberries now that you know where they came from:

Jostaberry Varieties

Jostaberries, focused shot.

For many years, jostaberry cultivation was restricted to the cultivar Josta, which remains one of the most popular kinds in the United States. Josta, Jostine, and Jogranda are some of the more popular kinds.

The USDA has developed new jostaberry varieties with improved flavour and colour in recent years. Here are a few cultivars of jostaberry to try:

If you don’t mind the cultivar’s few thorns, try “Orus 8” for good eating berries.

“Red Josta” is a high-yielding cultivar with tasty berries and bright red accents.

Jostine Jostaberry is a strong black currant and gooseberry hybrid that produces medium to big, flavorful berries with great yields. Berries keep well on the bush and can be processed into jellies, jams, pies, or eaten fresh, extending the harvest season. The plants have no thorns and are disease-resistant.

“Jogranda” is a cultivar to consider if you desire huge, violet berries, but keep in mind that the drooping branches often require support.

Cultivation of the Jostaberry

European gardeners have always planted more gooseberry and black currant shrubs than North American gardeners. The acidic flavour of the berries, as well as the vulnerability of currant bushes to diseases, may turn off American gardeners. On the other hand, jostaberries (Ribes nidigrolaria) do not have these problems.

When fully mature, the berries are sweet and juicy, tasting like sweet gooseberries with a hint of black currant. And because the shrub was designed with a built-in resistance or immunity to most berry illnesses, caring for jostaberries is simple.

However, the berries have a long way to go before they reach the same level of popularity as blueberries and strawberries. When you try to explain what a jostaberry tree is to your neighbours, the most common answer is, “What is a jostaberry?” However, after tasting a few of your delectable berries, they might be ready to plant some of their own.

Growing Instructions for Jostaberries In USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, jostaberry shrubs develop quickly and thrive for a long time, surviving temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 C.).

They need a well-drained, somewhat acidic soil with a high organic content to thrive. Before planting, it’s a good idea to incorporate organic compost into the soil. Plant jostaberry shrubs about 6 feet (1.8 metres) apart for optimal results. In hotter climates, plant them where they will receive afternoon shade.

In late winter or early spring, fertilize jostaberries with the same organic compost you placed into the soil to prepare for planting. To produce bigger, sweeter berries, cut out dead or broken branches and remove a few of the oldest canes at ground level around the same time.

The Advantages of Growing Jostaberry

The thornless shrub jostaberry has a strong growth habit. They are self-fertile, non-suckering shrubs with minimal trimming requirements. Jostaberry plants thrive in pots, courtyard/patio gardens, and food gardens. They’re a delicious fruit to consume fresh or after they’ve been chilled. They freeze well as well. Jostaberries go well with handmade ice cream and are also delicious in pies, cakes, jams, and stews. The jostaberry’s fruit is high in vitamin C.

Plant Care for Jostaberries

Fruit production should be maximized. Jostaberries require regular watering. Mulching in the spring helps to conserve moisture and keep roots cool in the summer. In the spring, fertilize with a basic fertilizer and top dress with well-broken down animal dung or compost.

Remove any broken or drooping branches in late winter. Remove the oldest branches as well. Because the majority of flower buds form on branches that are at least one year old, it is critical not to prune too severely, as this will diminish cropping potential.

Fruiting nets should be placed over the plant to keep birds away from the berries.

Conclusion

You should know everything there is to know about jostaberries by now. We sincerely hope that this information assists you in achieving your goal, whether you’re interested in purchasing them for eating or planting the different kinds.

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