What is the Haskap
The haskap, a member of the honeysuckle family, was first introduced to Canada around 1967, and is sometimes known as ‘edible blue honeysuckle’, ‘Honeyberry’, ‘sweetberry’ and ‘haskap’. The berry is grown on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, and was named ‘hasukappu’ by the indigenous Ainu.
Haskap are high in anthocyanins, vitamin C, phenolic compounds and other antioxidants. They have been used to reduce blood pressure and relieve gastrointestinal disorders, and there are reports of curative effects when used on malaria. Haskap also contain traces of selenium, the element said in japanese folklore to restore youth.
Common names for Lonicera caerulea include:
- Haskap (derived from the Japanese for “little presents on the end of branches”)
- Blue Honeysuckle
- Honeyberry TM
- Sweet Berry Honeysuckle
- Twin Berry Honeysuckle
What does a Haskap Berry look and taste like?
The Haskap Berry is a small oval berry, often likened in shape to an elongated Blueberry about 1 inch long. The skin of a Haskap is a dark blue, but with an intense crimson flesh. It has very small, almost imperceptible seeds. The juice of the berry has a naturally high brix factor (natural sugar content) and colours almost anything it is combined with to a dark burgundy. The taste of the haskap berry is unique and has been compared to a combination of Blueberry and Raspberry with a hint of Elderberry.
They are dark blue in colour, oval or cylindrical in shape and about one inch in length. The Russian varieties tend in general to be longer and larger than the Japanese ones.
Its taste is likened to a ‘Zingy’ combination of Blueberry and Raspberry with a hint of Elderberry.
Do we say Haskap or Honeyberry?
Being polite, we say both, but lean towards the name Haskap! However we recognize that many people say or prefer Haskap and others say or prefer Honeyberry! There is often confusion over naming because of their different regional names. Both names belong to the honeysuckle family or genus species Lonicera caerulea, but are divided into different subspecies.
In general, Honeyberry refers to Russian varieties – Lonicera caerulea L. subspecies kamtshatica, edulis, boczkarnikovae. Haskap is the name used in Japan and refers to Lonicera caerulea subspecies emphylocalyx.