Jostaberries

About Jostaberries

NOTE: In 2016-17, Blue Fruit Farm pulled out all our jostaberries as the berries were not shelf stable at harvesting. The stem area opened up with pulp oozing out a little bit, but that made the berry not very salable. We replaced the jostaberries with Titania black currants and honey berries.

A complex cross between black currants, European gooseberries, and American gooseberries, the jostaberry is named by combining the German words for blackcurrant (johanisbeere) and gooseberries (stachelbeere). Unlike its predecessors, jostaberries are thornless and tend to have good disease tolerance, even against white pine blister rust. Shrubs reach up to 6 feet tall, and are hardy to zone three.

We grow only one type of jostaberry at Blue Fruit Farm, Ribes nidigrolaria. Our original plants were sourced from Northern Trading Company, JE Miller Nurseries, and RH Shumway, from which we bought 5 plants each. After pulling several plants, we ordered additional plants from RH Shumway that were labeled as “extra hardy” jostaberries.

Using Jostaberries

Jostaberries flower in mid-spring - around the same time as blackcurrants – and in July produce dark blue, almost black shiny berries rich in vitamin C. With a taste intermediate to a currant and gooseberry, jostaberries may be eaten cooked or raw, though we recommended eating them cooked due to their tartness and astringency. The fresh berry can be juiced as well as made into delicious jams, preserves, and sauces. They are easily frozen by bagging fresh fruit into freezer bags. Frozen berries can be added to smoothies, muffins, and other baked goods, similar to blueberries.