It's important for me to have good ways to process and preserve the berries because we get over 30 pounds of berries from each tree each summer and they all come ripe at once. And I love it that my kids get to learn about how to grow, harvest, preserve and prepare foods by actually doing it.
In past years, we have been juicing the fruit into pulp using a homemade pressing device. We also started using a food mill this years which a neighbor got for us. Both ways work well and I like them because they require movement and squishing by all of us which is fun.
But we have so many berries to process quickly that when I work alone, without the kids, I will probably use the juicing machine. Otherwise the berries are likely to dry out on the tree before I can juice them.
First, some background. My wife planted 3 goumi berry trees in our yard in Portland, Oregon about 2014. She probably got them at One Green World, but we can't remmeber. She was interested in a nitrogen-fixing plant and we both wanted edibles for the kids. Four years later, the goumi berry trees were producing plenty of berries for the whole family. We have never fertilized, pruned or sprayed them. Just watered.
We have two types of goumi berry plants. One is sweeter than the other. It is probably Sweet Scarlet variety.
This photo shows the goumi berry plant in our yard. We grow it on the south side of the house in almost full sun.
Here is a bowl of freshly picked goumi berries with the stems removed. I did not use these for the juicing in this post.
A close up of the goumi berries. You can tell they are ripe when they get deep red in color and they lose their sheen. Right before they start to shrivel, they are at their best--they are the sweetest they are going to get before they start loosing water content. Also at this point they have the least amount of astringent taste.
Contrary to what I've read elsewhere, our goumi berries to not fall of the tree when ripe. They have a sturdy stem. Instead of falling off, they just dry up on the stem.
The whole family joins in the juicing. Here we are putting berries into the Breville juicer our uncle got us years ago.
The berries which included the stems ran through the juicer quickly. This produced a juice with almost no pulp. I put the pulp back into the juicer once and got more juice and pulp. It worked great! I repeated the process to get more pulp into the juice.
You can see below on the left is pulp that ran through the juicer 4 times. On the right, pulp that ran through 2 times. The second run through the juicer produced 50% additional juice. I believe 3 runs was where I would stop in the future.
One tip: keep the juicer motor running after the berries have pushed through and you might get much more juice that comes flowing out.
We started with 1600 grams of berries and that resulted in 1200 grams of juice. (3.5 pounds of berries resulted in 2.6 pounds of juice). That means the berries created 75% juice by weight. I'm confident that was better than the other methods we have tried.
After juicing, the juice included parts of stems and even a berry. This was too much for me to let by.
I used a colander to remove the stems. I have tried a strainer and the work involved is too much for me.
I am pleased with the result.
I freeze the resulting juice in large ice cubes and store in freezer bags. Until now I have used the pulp for smoothies and yogurt. Goumi berry lemonade and goumi yogurt has been delicious but we made that from fresh berry pulp.
If you have recipes or comments, please reach out.