The continuous growth of Canada’s berry industry is attributed partly to the health benefits that berries promise. However, for those who grow haskap berries, the health benefits and people’s curiosity to try something new are the main draws. Growers, including Haskap Producers partners, say that the popularity of this berry variety has to do with the fruit’s antioxidant content, which is said to be three times a highbush blueberry’s content. Also, haskap berries contain more vitamin C than oranges.
Haskap is More Than Just an Oversized Berry
While haskap berries look like blueberries, the resemblance is the only similarity. For haskap berry to flourish, it requires more alkaline soils. The haskap plant is hardy and tends to survive in colder zones. A plant takes 5-6 years to fully produce fruits, with every bush yielding 4-5 pounds. Also, they are quite early to harvest. For growers and processors, this can be a huge advantage. They can harvest haskap while they wait until summer to process other fruit.
Processed Haskap versus Fresh Haskap
Haskap berries are increasingly eaten fresh. They also come in processed format. These berries used to be used in jams, beer ingredients, and yogurts. Not much of this fruit is required to give a product a lot of colour.
Recently, the fruit was introduced as freeze-dried. Haskap has a longer shelf-life and can be easily incorporated into diets. Although the fruit is famous in processed format, people became more interested in fresh Haskap during the COVID pandemic as they enjoy picking the fruits at farms.
Kinds of Haskap Berries
Five varieties of Haskap have been developed through programs for growing conditions in Canada. These include the following:
- Tundra. This firm fruit makes it a great choice for heavy handling and commercial production. Also, it has exceptional flavour and can be picked without worrying about bleeding. Because of this, tundra berries are a great fruit for frozen storage.
- Indigo gem. This long-flowering plant can cross-pollinate with other haskap varieties. They can withstand handling, which makes them a great option for commercial growers and homeowners. You can compare this flavour of this fruit to a plum.
- Borealis. This is the biggest and softest type of haskap berries. Also, the flavour of this fruit makes it a great choice for those that operate U-pick farms and home gardeners.
- Honeybee. This hardy haskap berry features a fleshy texture and is slightly tart.
- Aurora. This haskap variety is quite productive with big, sweet fruits. These fruits have a little tartness.