Friday, November 6, 2020

Senjed, Джида, or the cultivated form of Russian olive

This fall I harvested the first fruits from my senjed tree of Turkish origin. I also grow couple of seedlings, and I have a graft of an Iranian senjed cultivar. Up to now, only the Turkish one bloomed and fruited.  While the official species name seems to be Elaeagnus angustifolia, the cultivated varieties are occasionally separated into Elaeagnus orientalis

The tree produces very fragrant flowers in May. Even just a few flowers create a lot of very sweet aromas in the garden.  They are small and yellow, and have preformed fruits at the bases.

The fruits are ready in October - November.  They are very astringent when unripe. The ripe fruits of this cultivar are light brown, over an inch long.

I prefer to skin the dry paper shell off the fruit. The sweet mealy power completely dissolves in the mouth and reveals the single long seed.  The powder is not just sweet, it also includes some unusual flavors that are hard to associate with more common fruits. 
Recently I purchased a bag of lucuma powder, and I was very surprised to find a high degree of flavor similarity between dry lucuma and senjed. In the first few seconds, I thought that the powder was made out of senjed.  It took me a few more moments to start tasting the specifics of lucuma flavor in it.  Somehow, these unrelated fruits have a high degree of similarity in the flavors.

Update on November 8, 2020
I added senjed cuttings as an additional product on our plant material sales site reallygoodplants.com 
They can be rooted, but it takes a while, many months; some say up to a year. I am shipping these cuttings with leaves on the top, while the tree has foliage. The presence of leaves may help with rooting.  My tree was started from a cutting.  Later in the season I will be shipping leafless cuttings that can be used for rooting or grafting.

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