Haskaps -- love 'em or hate 'em?

don555(3a)June 22, 2012

The Haskaps are ripe, and I have two varieties -- Borealis and I forget the other. On the plus side, they ripen earlier than any other fruit in zone 3. On the downside, I find them much too sour for my liking (I hate sour), yet my daughter thinks they taste great. Do other people like them, hate them, consider them "meh", or what? My personal opinion is too sour and not distinct enough flavour.

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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I'd never heard of them until now. I just looked them up and see they are a berry. They look similar to a blueberry, but you say they are sour so I guess they don't taste like blueberries at all. The only really sour berry I'm familiar with are gooseberries, and (with enough sugar) they make a great pie! Is that something you could do with the Haskaps?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 7:05AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Look what I found - have you seen this recipe page?

Here is a link that might be useful: Some like 'em sweet, some like 'em sour

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 7:58AM
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intotheark

haskaps are quite nice, but you have to go to Hokkaido, Japan to get 'em

the u of s honyberries are riding the coat-tails of 50 years of russian research, not japanese

i will give them credit, their berries are a little better flavored
but out of the 12 or so varieties i have they are the worst growers

honeyberries are quite tart and not for eating out-of-hand
their flavor is enhanced with processing and the addition of another complementary fruit

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:46AM
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denninmi(8a)

Raw, to me they taste like an under-ripe blueberry, one that needed a couple more days on the plant. I can and do eat them, but not the best thing in the world.

Cooked, however, I think they're great. They make wonderful pies and fruit fillings. Not really very much different from blueberry, but very tart and they require a lot of sugar.

Overall, I'm very glad I have them, they are different and its fun to get something that ripens SO early.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:49PM
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CLBlakey

if you leave them longer do you think they will sweeten up or will they just fall off. I have been thinking about getting some. I heard they were more like a cross between a raspberry and a blueberry maybe that is where the tartness comes in.

I always wanted to go to Japan.............Hmm??

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

I don't like them for exactly that reason - too sour. Same with sour cherries. Did you know sour and sweet cherries contain the same amount of sugar? Sweet cherries have less acid, so they taste sweeter. Sweetened haskap or sour cherries don't agree with my constitution (I have insulin resistance and feel sick after eating anything with too much sugar).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I find they get sweeter when left on another 2 or 3 weeks.
Since they're the first berries of the season, it seems every year they're a magnet for Cedar Waxwings, ..they even pick them green. I cover them up with row cover as soon I see birds in there, it also helps to prolong ripening without falling off, since the plant is protected from the wind.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:55PM
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intotheark

did some picking today
2 of note are:

the zolooshka's are very tasty and good producers of big berries,
but they are low growing so may not be a good option if you don't like to pick either bent over or sitting on the ground

the tomichka's have a good flavor this year, excellent producer of medium sized berries
this bush has a more upright growth making for easier picking

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:19PM
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don555(3a)

Thanks for the responses.

Blue Belle was the variety I was sampling. I picked the rest yesterday and they did seem sweeter -- not sweet, kind of like a tart raspberry (in sourness, not same taste), but enjoyable to eat a few fresh. More than a few and I think they'd lose their appeal for me. I don't have enough for cooking and probably wouldn't bother even if I did. Gave most of them to my daughter again since she seems to like the sour flavour. Borealis is ripening now but I haven't tried them yet.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:58PM
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CLBlakey

Keep us posted how those go

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:50PM
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cmmwiebe

Out of the jams and jellies my wife makes, the Blue Honeysuckle (AKA Haskap)are in the top 3 in sales. I have about 300 seedlings from a number of sources and there are many flavours. Several things which make differences are temperature - consistent heat (good temps in the mid to high 20's) will bring the sugars around as the berries get ripe. You need to be sure the berries are ripe. Some varieties tend to look good but when cut open you will find they are still slightly green. Soil types are likely to cause some flavour differences.
As Konrad says, the Cedar Waxwings are a huge pest and unless you get the netting to the ground they will keep eating berries. We have never gotten a Saskatoon here because of robins and we only get Honeysuckle because I net the rows!

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog with connections to Blue Honeysuckle

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Clayton, does your wife sell jams and jellies at the SFM?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:09PM
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cmmwiebe

Re: Selling jams

No we just sell from home.

We were hoping for a reasonable crop but it is disappearing every day!
Same is true of any green berries right now as the Cedar Waxwings are not choosey!

Clayton

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 11:50PM
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don555(3a)

My update, as of July 6, 11 days after my last comments:

Blue Belle is still being picked though the fruit is no different than a week and half ago -- tart but not excessively so, and with an okay flavour that is like...well, haskaps.

Borealis is very sour, unpleasant, even after pickings spread out over more than a week. All 3 of us here find Borealis unpleasant. (versus 1 who found Blue Belle unpleasant, 1 who found it okay (me), and 1 who liked it).

Borealis has bigger berries, but it's just bigger nastiness IMO.

Sorry if my comments offend any haskap fans, but those are my honest take on these berries.

Don

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 3:59AM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

Don, that sure doesn't sound like Borealis..this is supposed to be the sweetest, best tasting variety available! Were they comletely ripe? Like cherries, I think they are supposed to taste better the longer you can leave them on the bush.

Sorry to hear you aren't liking them...I have Tundra, Borealis and Berry Blue, which I planted this year. I tend to like tart things, but I hope they don't wind up being TOO sour!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you for your honest opinion Don!
Where did you get them? From Boughen? If so, then I wouldn't be surprised if it was a wrong plant, it hapen to me with a plum tree.

Just picked some of the Blue Belle, about 8lb from 4 plants, I find one of the most productive berry plants I've seen.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 10:55AM
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CLBlakey

I wish there was a way to taste them before you buy them. I wonder if our farmers market would have them.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:50PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

I think in Saskatchewan at least, there may be a couple of u-pick farms that have haskaps. There are also a few places that have the U of S cherries.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 8:49AM
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intotheark

the haskaps are tart, and they lack the flavor profile of some of the less hybridized varieties

our sweetest ones this year were the 'svetl's' and 'zolooshka's'
and they had a more intense 'honeyberry' flavor

to me the haskaps compared to the older varieites,
are like comparing wild blueberries to commercial store bought ones
the haskaps are bigger, easier to pick mechanically but lack the flavor

these berries are nothing new and have been available since the 1960's,
but back then they were known as 'sweetberries'

the 'berry blue' aka 'czech #17' and the 'blue belle' aka 'tomichka' were both very good and productive this year

any of the 'polar' line has been a little disappointing,
with polar spring being the poorest and yanked

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 5:12PM
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don555(3a)

Konrad (and Weeper) -- I got my honeyberries from Hole's in St. Albert. The ones labelled Borealis were indeed horribly sour, even after sitting ripe on the bush for a week or two. Quite possibly they were mislabelled, as I bought that variety because it was said to be sweet and wonderful, and ended up being anything but.

Konrad, your production is fantastic. I have two varieties that I guess are not good pollinators for each other (as intotheark described earlier this year), so I got enough berries to sample and nothing more.

I see you have that weird leaf-yellowing disease on your Borealis. What is that? It has been in my Borealis since I bought the plant and has now affected over half the leaves on my Borealis plant, yet hasn't touched the adjacent Blue Belle plant at all.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 4:49AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Not sure,..I wasn't aware, the production was great of this blue belle.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:58PM
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don555(3a)

Sorry, I had that backwards. It is my Blue Belle that has the yellowing and mottling on many leaves, the Borealis is unaffected.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 10:23PM
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cmmwiebe

Just a follow up on my earlier comments about our harvest. So between the constant feeding of the Cedar Waxwings and the high winds (literally dried the tops of the taller plants off!) we ended up with less than 2 liters of poor quality berries! Not an encouraging harvest.

As to the flavours. I am not surprised at the number of folks who find the berries tart to sour. Unless you have had good heat for a couple of weeks as they finish ripening, they will not sweeten up. With the rather delayed ripening caused by the rain and cool weather many of us experienced this year across the prairies I am thinking the ripening will have been uneven and the uptake of tannins/anthocyanins which give the dark blue color will have been excessive or at least more prominent. Think about adding a black tea to the berries in your bowl of fruit and no sugar. It is likely you would find this in any of the blue/black fruits when we don't get heat to convert the sugars to provide sweetness!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I find they flower for a long period of time..about two weeks, I've seen flowers and fruit in the same time, so letting them sit under row covers makes a HUGE difference in taste. Last night I picked about 2 lb. from 2 bushes,..ate too many!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:14AM
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CLBlakey

I finally got to the farmers market on Sat and nobody had haskaps for me to try. Konrad do your row covers allow for bees or do you cover after pollination.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I put them on usually when I see birds in them,..when turning blue.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:35PM
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cmmwiebe

What kind of material do you use Konrad?

Clayton

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Not sure, I think it's the same as Canadian Tire sells as frost blanket, got a large roll from Apache Seeds in Edmonton,.. it's worth it.
..
Put on June 18

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 1:13AM
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CLBlakey

Thanks Konrad a picture is worth a 1000 words. Looks like I found a u-pick place for haskaps only 1 1/2 hours north look out Berwyn here I come.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 12:58PM
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