Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Bluebush, Diospyros lycioides ssp. lycioides

 This post describes Diospyros lycioides ssp. lycioides fruits and the only use, which I have found for them so far.

Four years ago, in August of 2018 I collected seeds from the plants of this species at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Most fruits I found there were yellowish in color, but it’s possible they haven’t been fully ripe. The fruit or two I tried seemed to be sweet, at the time. The fruits were small, about half an inch in diameter, round or slightly elongated. Now, four years later (October 2022), I ended up with three fruiting females and one male from the seeds I germinated. All trees grow in Goleta, California, on the farm of my employer, Frinj Coffee. One of the females is very productive with lots of elongated fruits. They are dark pink in the color.

The second female made perfectly round fruits, the picture below.

And the third female has slightly elongated fruits, see the picture below.

All fruits are seedy as they all have been pollinated by male tree growing next to the females. I couldn’t find a single fruit on the male tree now in October. However, I remember seeing few immature fruits on it earlier in the season. Most likely, the male tree produces some perfect or female flowers too.

The fruits are bitter-sweet in the flavor and taste to me very similar to the Spaten Optimator beer with more bitterness. The fruits have a beer yeast flavor component even when not overripe.

I decided to check if the juice from these fruits will help to develop a sourdough starter quickly. After crushing the fruits, I added some filtered water to the bowl, and then filtered the extract through a fine sieve. The filtered liquid was used instead of water to initiate the starter.

I didn’t have a bread flour at home, and used the all purpose flour for the starter and for the bread. The starter seemed to be ready in just three days. My first sourdough bread (in the last 4-5 years) came out pretty good, the family and I enjoyed it very much.

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