Eliminating Chester Thornless blackberry

Ugh, they are awful. So sour. I’ll layer the Triple Crown next to it or look for a PrimeArk Freedom. It’s time to shovel prune, not waiting til winter!

Yeah Chester Blackberry isn’t great tasting, I am guessing this is because of lower sugars. It is quite productive and probably good for jam but I have never made jam out of it so I am not sure. I really liked Illini blackberry but it became invasive in my garden. Had to “tractor prune” and “fire prune” the whole mess of it. lol.

I thought they’d be sour also,after buying my first sampling at a fruit stand.I had them growing at the time and none were ripe.Now I let them stay on the bush for quite awhile and like them. Brady

Interesting. I can’t really leave them that long as one thing or another gets them (birds, bees, etc).

Once I tasted the Arkansas blackberries, I pulled all of my Chesters out. They produced a huge amount of fruit but were not sweet enough to eat until they were very soft. Also once picked they did not keep long

I agree Brady. They are just as good as Triple Crown. Also a key to higher sugars is less water and more sun. Mine get ton’s of sun, and they taste fantastic with plenty of sugar. When slightly soft they are best, that is when I pick them (about 4 days black). They should come right off, even fall while trying to harvest. For me Chester is a keeper!

Yes I like to use under ripe berries for jam. I need to pick under ripe berries as I leave for 4 days at a time, and if I leave them, they are way over ripe when I get back, and also attract insects and fungi. I feel too much sugar in jams waters down the flavor, so starting with tart fruit makes the jam taste fresh and bright.
With sweet fruit I like to mix it with tart fruit. Blueberries and mulberries are very sweet. By themselves I feel the jam is boring, and with little taste. OK, though nothing special. Add blackberries, even under ripe blackberries, it’s another story, the taste jumps out, is upfront and bright. I recently did a 50-50 mix and it was still way too sweet, so I do 2 cups of blackberries to 1 cup of blueberries.
Yesterday I made boysenberry-mulberry-red currant jam, the flavor is fantastic!
One exception is black raspberries, sweet, but still have great flavor and hold it well. I find though black raspberries tend not to gel well. As I just refuse to use all that sugar, Other berries gel well with low sugar, but not black raspberries. After two years of batches failing to gel, i started making it with Pomona a calcium based gel product not dependent on sugar to gel. Otherwise I use no sugar pectin, which really is less sugar pectin. It’s called no sugar as you can use Splenda instead with this pectin. I just use less sugar a 2 to 1 ratio of fruit to sugar. Works with everything I have tried except black raspberries.

You can make jam without pectin, but cooking times are longer. This destroys nutritious molecules, and lessens the nutritional value. All of my jams are brought to rolling boil for 1 minute only, and all gel every time. The taste of the product is exceptional too, as you also destroy the flavor with excessive cooking.

I may actually just remove all my blackberries and put in more black raspberries. They have been easier to manage and less fruit is spoiled when I pick. Plus figs are starting to ripen now with the blackberries, and I like figs more. Black Raspberries should also be early enough to avoid SWD if/when they arrive.

Yeah blackberries are very difficult to manage. I’m having a heck of a time removing spent floricanes. Not fun! Speaking of black raspberries, next year I should get a taste of yellow caps. All yellows I know of are from red raspberries. My plant was originally foraged from the wilds of Ontario.
I got them from Tyler in Ontario, he sent these photos. My plant grew about 7 canes this year.

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Ate my first Chester and Triple Crown yesterday.

Chester tasted like water with hardly any sweetness

Triple Crown tasted sweet and delicious.

Same soil culture for both.


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