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All About Haskap Berries

May 27, 2024
Written by The Eising Team

You're probably not alone if you’ve never heard of Haskap berries. Haskap, Honeyberry, Swamp Fly Honeysuckle and Edible Honeysuckle are just some of the many names for one outstanding fruit shrub! Let’s stick with one name, Haskap.

Nutritious and Delicious

Haskap fruit looks like an elongated blueberry but has a unique taste similar to that of a raspberry. It’s juicy, flavourful, and full of nutrition. This berry is high in vitamin C, A, potassium, and fibre and has triple the antioxidants found in blueberries! 

Growing Haskaps

Unlike blueberries, Haskaps do not require highly acidic soil or any special soil at all. 

Haskaps are drought tolerant, extremely cold tolerant, need very little pruning, have no thorns and don’t sucker. This means they are well-behaved and don’t spread beyond their globe-shaped bushes.

To produce fruit, Haskaps need:

- at least one other Haskap shrub nearby

- the shrubs must be of at least two different varieties

- the varieties must bloom at the same time for cross-pollination to take place

Haskaps do not like chemical fertilizers. Compost or composted manure near the base of the shrub will provide all the nutrients new plants need, and an application of the same each spring afterward.

For optimal fruit production, Haskaps love full sun and open space. Their shallow roots do not like to be crowded by weeds or other plants. A wide circle of mulch should be placed at its base to prevent weeds or other plants from growing around the shrub. However, be sure to keep the mulch away from the stems. That tip is important for all mulched plants, trees, and shrubs.

Harvest Time

Before the fruit on your Haskap shrub begins to form, it’s a good time to cover it with bird netting. Birds love Haskap berries as much as we do! Even if the fruit is under-ripe, birds will eat it. 

Figuring out when the berries are ripe is a bit of an experiment, as they can be dark blue on the outside for several days before they are fully ripe on the inside. Because the fruit does not ripen after picking, it is best to taste a berry to see if the inside is still green. Ripe fruit will be completely purple on the inside.

Haskaps may begin producing a few berries their first year, and the amount of fruit will increase yearly. A little initial patience will pay off in spades because a mature shrub will produce 6 to 10 pounds of fruit—enough to eat, freeze, make jam, ice cream, juice, wine, or maybe even share!

More Resources

Haskap Canada Association

OMAFRA

University of Saskatchewan

Haskapa

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