Introduction to Haskap Berries (aka Honeyberries)

If you’ve never seen haskap before, this whole article is going to seem very strange to you. So before I go and tell you what haskap is, let me show you what haskap looks like.

Haskap Berries (aka Honeyberries)

What is Haskap?

Haskap is an amazingly hardy, fast growing, high yielding, great tasting berry bush that is relatively new to North America. It is an edible honeysuckle that originates from Siberia and can be found in Russia, China, and Japan. It goes by the name ‘Honeyberries’, ‘Blue Honeysuckle’, and ‘Haskap’. Recently, it has been developed at the University of Saskatchewan by Dr. Bob Bors for commercial production.

What makes Haskap so remarkable?

Haskap has several features that make it stand out from among all other fruits.

#1. Hardiness

Coming from Siberia, it is extremely hardy. It can withstand winter temperatures of -47° Celsius. Not only that, but its open flowers can endure -7° Celsius. They are the earliest to fruit in the season, usually in mid to late June – even earlier than strawberries.

#2. Early & High Yield

One of the greatest thing about Haskap is that it doesn’t take seven years to start producing. My seedlings were planted in the spring of 2006 and I ate my first fruit in June 2007. In the studies at the University of Saskatchewan, they were yielding 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) per plant in their 3rd year and 4 kg per plant in their 6th year. The picture below is a three-year old plant in the test patch at the University of Saskatchewan.

Haskap Bush

#3. Unique Flavor

Haskap is unlike any other fruit you’ve tried. Some have compared it’s taste to blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, saskatoons, and black current. The flavor seems to vary with varieties. They are most often compared with blueberries, but without the seeds. The seeds are similar to that of kiwis, so you don’t even notice them. As for it’s uses, basically anything you would do with blueberries, you could also do with haskap – eat them fresh, in baking, as jams & jellies, frozen, or whatever else you may think of.

You can learn more about Haskap by visiting these sites:

Or you can buy Haskap plants from DNA Gardens in Elnora, Alberta.

Edited: June 1, 2008

Read more in my post Haskap Blossoms In May or Early Haskap Berries.

220 Responses to Introduction to Haskap Berries (aka Honeyberries)

  1. Heidi Snyder says:

    The first year I had my honey berry plants, they fruited nicely. This year, the bushes grew in size, but I got no berries. Can you provide any helpfull tips on what they like to thrive and why they were seemingly “dormant” this year? Thanks!

    • Amanda Beaton says:

      Perhaps you need another variety to pollinate , I just bought some this year and was told I need two different types to produce berries next summer .

    • Winifred Serfontein says:

      I have 2 beautiful large honey berry bushes that flower abundantly in spring but only found out now that I need two different types for pollination. How do I find out which ones I have – is there any way if identifying the different types by looking at the plant so I can know which kind to get for pollination? Also , somewhere I read you need at least 5 bushes for success??

  2. pat marc says:

    I planted 4 bushes last year and they are yielding lots of berries already this spring, But I am disappointed in the taste as the tag stated sweeter than blueberries. They may look like elongated blueberries but are too tart to be compared to blueberries.

    • Skratazoid says:

      With blueberries, they get sweeter the longer they stay on the bush. I have a netted structHre on mine to keep away the birds, so I can wait a couple weeks after they turn blue to pick them. Maybe haskap get sweeter that way too. Just a guess.

    • Sam says:

      Something people should be aware of.
      Did you know that the berries are not fully ripe until 1-2 weeks after they turn purple? The honeyberry has a dual ovary and there are basically 2 fruits in each berry. One grower describes them as an inner and outer berry. The inside fruit does not fully ripen until 1-2 weeks AFTER the outer skin turns purple. The taste will be a mixture of sweet and sour or have a bitter taste if picked too early, even though the outer skin is purple and no longer changing color.?

      • Sam says:

        Found one of my sources. From the Arts Nursery website:
        Haskap Harvest

        Haskap flowers are borne early on stems and thus produce one of the earliest berry crops (even ahead of Strawberries). Berries are ready to be picked by mid to late June (depending on your area, can even be late May). These berries will look ripe 1-2 weeks before they are truly ready to be eaten. If the berries are green inside, they are not ripe; they should be a deep purple red inside when fully ripened.?

  3. Lizette Tejada says:

    Our haskap harvest was sad this year! But I understand other haskap growers had the same issues.

  4. Jeanie says:

    Mine had few berries this year (2016) either. I am near St. Paul, MN.

  5. Paul in Calgary says:

    2016 was good in Calgary, the Spring was a month early, we had fruit in the first week of June. I had enough berries for two batches of freezer jam from 4, 8 year old plants.

    2017 – the flowers are just out (May 9 and the bumble bees are busy, lots of flowers this year.

    I just bought two varieties of Drarf sour cherries from the U of Sask series. (Romeo and Crimson) I hope they do well.

  6. Joe L says:

    I have trimmed some wild branch’s on a bush.
    Is there a way to get them to root and grow?

    • Dave says:

      Joe L: I haven’t tried it myself, but you can try to dip the end in a rooting solution/powder and then pot it up!

  7. Sunshine says:

    Could a honeyberry plant cross pollinate with a blueberry plant? Thanks in advanced

  8. Renee says:

    Does anyone have a hasp berry jam recipe?

  9. Al says:

    I bought a single honeyberry from walmart today not knowing they needed to cross pollinate with another type of honeyberry. I have two different types of blueberry including a pink lemonade. Is there a chance that the three can cross pollinate? I am running out of space to put another one in.

  10. Mike Chcoho says:

    Where can one purchase picked honey berries? I heard about this fruit recently and after reading about it found it interesting but would like to try this unique product.

    • Dave says:

      Mike: There are more and more growers popping up all over Canada and the US. You could try a local u-pick farm or there may be some at your local farmer’s markets.

  11. Henry says:

    We bought two small Haskap bushes about 12 years ago on the premise they were a sweet berry. False advertising I think.Big disappointment when berries came.The taste for us was more like putting ones tongue on a dandelion stem no matter what time we picked. We still have some on now in August and still sour. For 11 years the birds have still been feasting on them so guess the $15 each wasn’t all wasted, however they are taking up room in the garden and will be dug up this fall and shredded.

  12. Tracy says:

    Do you know where I can buy honeyberry plants in Calgary? I’m looking for Boreal Blizzard and Boreal Beast types. Thanks!

    • Dave says:

      Tracy – I don’t have any specific stores in mind right now, but they are becoming increasingly popular. In the spring you should be able to find several varieties in most garden centers.

      • Al says:

        I saw some established (already flowering) plants in a Home Depot Garden Center, they’re $13 a pop. Or you can get some younger plants from Walmart Garden Center where they sell a young Honeyberry plant for $9. Make sure you get different varieties for pollination though.

    • Cathy says:

      You might want to try Blue Grass Nursery out by Cross Iron Mills. That is where I bought mine about 3 years ago.

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Tracy, I bought mine a few years ago at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks. I’m pretty sure you can still get them there.

    • Kristen says:

      Saskatoon farms

  13. HC says:

    Is it more shrublike or vinelike? My other honeysuckle is certainly a climber.

  14. Kathleen says:

    I have two haskap berries and they are fruiting OK. I need to transplant them. They are about 2 years old. I have a spot picked out. But it is May 7 here in AK. Bare ground. Some warm days. What temperature should the ground be before I transplant? They are going from one raised bed into flat ground. Any suggestions welcome. Thank you.

  15. Sandra says:

    Hi Tracy, I bought mine a few years ago at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks. I’m pretty sure you can still get them there.

  16. Corry Lemire says:

    We have 11 plants that are very well established. However, 4 of the bushes that were purchased have very bitter sœur berries. The other plants taste excellent and grow differently than the 4 gross ones. Can anybody explain why?

    • Dave says:

      Corry – I presume the four are a different (and likely older) variety. Newer varieties have been developed over the past couple decades and they are significantly better than the originals.

Leave a Reply to Cathy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *