Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting shows a mature goumi plant that has fruit ready to harvest, how to tell when it is ready to harvest and the method of harvesting.
About Sweet Scarlet Goumi
Elaeagnus multiflora is the botanical name of goumi and is in the same family as Autumn Olive and Russian Olive. While autumn olive and Russian olive are sometimes considered an invasive plant because the spread so prolifically by seed, that is not really the case for goumi.
Sweet Scarlet Goumi is a Ukrainian plant and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-8. It is a perennial deciduous shrub that grows up to 9 feet high. It likes well drained soil and at least a half a day of sunshine. It produces fragrant creamy white flowers in May followed by fruit in June. It fixes nitrogen in the soil, which basically puts fertilizer in the ground for free when you prune it.
Where is the Fruit?
The fruit is deep red when it is ready to harvest. However, if you are just walking by the bush and not paying attention, you may miss the fruit all together. The fruit grows on the underside of the bush and if your plant is very bushy, like mine is, then the fruit is almost hidden. You actually have to push the branches and leaves aside to see the fruit. But use caution as the shrub has long sharp thorns.
Your fruit is ready to harvest when it is a deep dark red. The darker red that the fruit is, the sweeter the fruit is. The fruit will turn red when it is the size of a small marble or very small cherry.
To harvest, simply grab the stem holding the fruit to the branch and give a tug. If you are eating the fruit right away, you could just grab the fruit and give a tug. If you are going to try and store the fruit for a day or two, make sure you pull the stem with the fruit. The fruit does not last as long without the stem.
Don’t Store the Fruit
The fruit does not store well. The fruit will store for a day or two in the refrigerator but then it gets soft and rubbery. I have found that the taste doesn’t change much when it is rubbery, it just looks better and has a better texture when it is fresh.
Sweet but Astringent
The fruit has a flavor like I have never tasted before. It has a pleasant sweet taste but also has a slight astringency. Astringency is where it makes your mouth pucker a little, kind of like eating a grape seed or the peel of an unripe banana. It has a seed in the center that I generally do not eat. Some folks on my plant tours have eaten the seeds and they say it has a nutty flavor. I didn’t get that when I tried it. The seeds have kind of a woody texture to them and I can’t seem to get past that.
The fruit is claimed to have 3 times the lycopene of tomatoes and to be high in vitamins A, C, and E. I have seen several recipes online for jams and jellies, but I can’t seem to gather enough to make jams or jellies, because I end up eating them raw because they are so good. I just fill a baggie up and take them to work with me and snack on them throughout the day.
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