The Haskap berry forms one of the most exciting new crops for North America that have come along in decades. Also known as Blue Honeysuckle, or Honeyberries, these flavorful berries are grown on short, bushy, remarkably hardy plants.
Wild Haskap types are native to Canada’s boreal forest, and can be found from Alberta to Newfoundland, but the better tasting and infinitely more productive cultivated varieties are native to the North Western Pacific Rim, from Japan to Russia. While versions of this crop have been available in North America for years, their bitter taste meant they never really ended up on Canadian’s plates.
More recently, Dr Bob Bors, a breeder in Saskatchewan has been busily snatching up examples of these plants from around the globe, creating the largest collection of Haskap in North America, and using this collection to breed and select the most delicious examples for Canadian growers and consumers.
Recipes are limited for this new crop and you won’t find it in your grocery store quite yet, but if you can find a producer, or want to grow your own, use Haskap as a delicious replacement to strawberries, raspberries or blue berries in your favourite dessert recipe! They made tremendous jam!
Author: Peter Reimer, University of Saskatchewan Fruit Programme