What are the best varieties of elderberries to grow for jam or juice? They would be planted on an 2 acre lot, north of Eugene. Thanks, Sinita Wilson
Lane County Oregon
All the blue and black elderberries are suitable for jams, jellies and other culinary uses. You should plant two different elderberry bush varieties within 60 feet of each other to get maximum fruit production. The bushes begin producing in their second or third year. All elderberries produce fruit; however, the American elderberry varieties are better than the European, which should be planted more for their lovely foliage.
Sambucus nigra is the American species. There are improved ones with larger berries.
Adams #1 and Adams #2 bear large fruit clusters and berries that ripen in early September. York’ is another American variety that produces the largest berries of all the elderberries. Pair it with ‘Nova’ for pollinating purposes. It only grows to about 6 feet tall and across and matures in late August.
It is often difficult to find these in the local nurseries, but there are mail order nurseries in Oregon and in Washington that specialize in the less grown fruits. Two of these are Raintree and Northwoods. You can find them on the internet.
I hope this helps.