Haskap Fruit

June 8, 2024

Most of us have not heard of Haskap berries.  But that is about to change.

In the world of berries, Haskaps are often compared to blueberries.  Haskap berries are slightly larger, coming in at about twice the size, and elongated rather than round.  Colour is similar.  Both grow on bushes reaching 1.5 to 2 metres high, making them easy to pick.

The big difference between the two is their growing requirements.  Blueberries need highly acidic soil which is why we need to drive to Bothwell for the best berries.  Alternatively, we could drive to South Haven Michigan, considered to be the Blueberry Capital of Michigan.

Haskap bushes grow anywhere and are content growing as far north as Alaska.  Already popular in Edmonton and Saskatoon, Haskaps are favoured in backyard gardens where growing blueberries is a challenge.

As for health and nutrition, Haskaps eclipse the popular blueberries which have often been considered superfoods.  Haskap fruit is high in vitamin C and A, and offers higher levels of fibre and potassium.

Haskap berries have a taste that could be compared to raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Skin colour is bluish purple while flesh is crimson red coloured.

If there is anything tricky about growing Haskaps, it would be in their need for pollinators or pollinizers.  While some fruits such as peaches and raspberries will take care of their own pollenizing, other fruits such as apples, pears and Haskaps require a partner of a different variety within the same fruit family.  The two or more fruits must flower at the same time in order for the pollinators to move pollen from flower to flower.

For those growing Haskaps in home gardens, it is recommended to plant a few varieties to ensure good pollinizing.

Haskap plants do not have fussy soil and nutrient requirements.  Like all fruits, they want to be planted in a sunny location.  Watering is helpful for the first year or two after planting, after which a layer of mulch is sufficient to hold soil moisture.   An application of balanced fertilizer is helpful if applied early in spring.

Harvest your Haskaps in late June through most of July.  Eat fresh, add to muffins, make a berry crumble or pie, or toss into a mixed salad with spring dressing.