The name for the haskap berry comes the language of the Ainu, an indigenous culture in Japan who has traditionally considered haskap the “elixir of life.” These days, wild and farmed haskap berries can be found throughout Canada. It’s popular to make them into jam, and one of my favourite things in the summer is mixing Haskap Jam into Soy Cashew Yogurt.
The haskap berry also goes by the names honeyberry and blue honeysuckle. In Russia, they’re known as жимолость (zhimolost, “honeysuckle”). They look somewhat like mutant blueberries with their elongated shape. In China, Japan, and Russia, where they’re native, they’ve been harvested wild for centuries. More recently, Canadian growers have found that it does really well in our climate too (thanks, USask)! When I was little, I’d never even heard of haskap, but lately I’ve found a few farms here in Alberta growing the fruit. Planning to go U-picking when they come into season this July.
Not only do haskaps resemble blueberries in appearance, they taste a bit similar too. Most people say they taste like a combination of blueberry and raspberry, but imo it’s closer to a cross between blueberry and blackberry. There’s a slight tangy flavour there that’s really nice and refreshing. And it’s so juicy!
Many haskap farms make their own homemade jam, so do a Google search for haskap growers in your area and see if they’re selling. Although I haven’t seen them sold in stores, you might have luck at farmers markets too. I used to buy mine from JamGoddess as they’re based right here in Calgary. Also consider making your own Haskap Jam—all you need are haskap berries, sugar, and lemon juice.
Here in Canada, U-pick farms are your best bet. The Haskap Canada Association keeps a nice list of farms across Canada that sell fresh honeyberries. A lot of them also carry frozen haskaps for when the season is over.
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DIY Haskap Berry Yogurt
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- Stir yogurt and haskap jam together. Taste for sweetness.
- Serve with fresh haskap berries, chopped nuts and seeds, dried fruits, or whatever other toppings you like.