A Northern Ontario farm family hopes a fruit that’s grown in almost every province in Canada but few Canadians have ever heard of let alone tasted, will capture consumer’s imagination and taste buds when they debut in stores later this summer.
The little known haskap fruit, also known as blue honeysuckle, is an indigo coloured berry that tastes like a cross between blueberries raspberries and Saskatoon berries.
They are native to mostly the northern countries of the Northern hemisphere.
The plants are perfectly suited for colder climates, with some breeds able to withstand temperatures of -45 degrees Celsius.
The haskap berry is popular in Europe and Asia, yet still relatively unknown in Canada.
Haskap berries might be the next superfood. The berries are higher in antioxidants than blueberries.
Haskap, meaning ‘little present on the end of a branch’ is the name given by the Japanese.
The haskap berry is incredibly versatile. It has the capacity to be a wine, but it also has the capacity to be a health food supplement, because of its antioxidants.
Haskapa in Nova Scotia, has created juice, jams and condiments with haskap berries and infuses other products with the fruit including maple syrup, gin and vodka. They also make body scrub, bath salt, lip gloss and soap containing the haskap and plan to introduce powder for juice and wine in the next few months.
Haskapa is working with Dalhousie’s University agricultural experts in Truro, N.S. to optimize processing techniques to maximize the bioactive content of the products.
Haskap berries are dark blue, oval or cylindrical and about 2.5 cm long and have a hint of elderberry, black currant or grape, and a tartness.
The plants are being grown in most provinces now, with more than two million sold.
Gardeners have adopted the deciduous shrub for its ease of growth and attractiveness in the garden.