Best tasting highbush cranberry?

My neighbors have a beautiful highbush cranberry (vibernum opulus) but when I tasted it it was bitter enough that I thought it was poisonous. Does anyone have recommendations for a good tasting cultivar?

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I havent tasted mine, but ive planted Wentworth, Ukraine, Phillips, and Kalinka in the past. I accidently killed 3/4 of them. So i need to replace them. These are the four most common ones i see offered for sale for edibility. Also on my list to buy is Mondeaux, a variety found by a forager so its supposed to be superior. For what i read, all highbush cranberries taste or smell like sweaty feet. Sounds great. Im interested in others actual opinions.

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I like a lot of unpopular and odd tasting fruits, but try as I might I find the flavor of cranberry viburnum putrid. The sweaty feet description is generous. There’s something in its flavor that is just off putting. You’ll read many places that the euro species V. opulus has this flavor while the american V. trilobum does not. Having spent years trying to track down this unicorn, Kve pretty well settled on the understanding that they are one in the same species. Ive sampled fruits grown in different places and purchased nursery grown plants that promised goodflavor, but they always taste the same to me. In fairness, Ive not tried processing them, so perhaps they get much better with some sugar and heat. Its hard to imagine that being the case though. Theyre already fairly sweet. They just happen to taste like a mix of household chemicals and battery acid.

I remember one time as a young boy noticing that my shoes were very stinky. I grabbed my mom’s spray perfume and shot a little in there thinking it would remedy the situation (naturally). The result was the olfactory equivalent of the old adage “two wrongs dont make a right.”

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I should add that there is one way that Ive enjoyed them- dried. Ive not tried drying them intentionally (maybe should) but Ive noticed that very often a lot of them will hang through the winter and be left perfectly dried in the spring. Eaten this way (more of a nibble really) theyre pretty pleasant. It’s interesting that the birds dont polish them off. Perhaps the birds dont like their flavor either.

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I don’t know about any specific cultivars, but some Ukrainian friends of mine have given me several jars of this stuff. It’s a jelly like high bush cranberry sauce. You mix like a tablespoon with hot water to make a delicious tea. At least my brother and I think it’s delicious. My wife and sister-in-law call it Limburger tea. I think everybody agrees though; it definitely tastes much better than fresh berries. As far as I know they’re just berries from native wild bushes here.

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thanks @EliindaUP

I want to like them, really. Some russian and ukrainian friends both spoke highly of them. Ive never heard of the tea before- interesting

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I have Phillips and Andrews, but they’re not exactly thriving. May have a Redwing as I bought one about 5 years ago, but haven’t seen it lately. (Still potted, and tag might be missing.)

Also have several seedlings, a dozen from Cold Stream Farm I think it may have been, plus a couple volunteers under my plants.

Even among plant scientists, there is still indecision if the American (viburnum trilobum) and European are different species, or if the American is a sub-species of viburnum opulus.
Most the the v. opulus for sale at box stores or garden centers are sterile (NO FRUITS).

I believe the American have better tasting fruits than v. opulus.
But, unless you like raw cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon) fruits – you probably aren’t going to like
highbush
cranberries
either.

Autumn Olive tastes better. But, native plants are in demand for various reasons.
About 5 to 12 feet is the size of cranberry viburnum if it is happy.

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The reason I was surprised by how bad it tasted is because I actually do like raw cranberries and madrona berries (oregon grape just tastes sour with no redeeming flavor)

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I’ve read that recently V. trilobum is now just considered a subspecies of opulus.

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I will ask him for the recipe. He started some cuttings from his bushes to give to me next spring, so I’d like to know for myself as well.

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Really?..I consider Oregon grape ‘tasteless’ if ripe. Neutral. Not desirable nor undesirable.
I think jam/jelly or dried is the method to use the highbush cranberries.

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I think our tastbuds agree about oregon grape

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i wouldnt eat them by the handful, but I find cranberries spritely, not gross. Cornus mas is another one that people have been know to rail against and be disappointed by. I find their flavor rich and complex, not just sour but theyll pucker you right up of the tree for sure. With the cranberry viburnum, its not the sourness but the acrid flavor that I find less than pleasing. Ill have to see about drying some. They certainly produce well, and are often unbothered by birds or pests here.

Of the viburnums Ive eaten, I lve most enjoyed nannyberry (lentago I believe) and hobblebush (lantanoides), both of which have the flavor and consistency of a paste made of plum butter. I have a nurse bed full of nannyberry seedlings Im planning to make a hedge of. Neither of these species gets much love and you hardly ever see either in nursery catalogs except for conservation use. I find both much more comestible than opulus/trilobum fwiw.

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