haskapberry jam — first berries of the season!

I was so thrilled to pick my first crop of haskapberries yesterday!  Yes, it’s the first berry crop of the season!  Who knew?  And, as I hoped in this post last year when I planted the bushes, the jam is absolutely marvelous.  The berries look like elongated blueberries, but the flavor is much tarter and punchier and more wine-like than blueberries.  They are the blueberries of the street: tough guys. Someone described the taste as a cross between a blueberry, black currant, and a black raspberry.  I think that’s about right.  But they aren’t sweet enough to eat without sugar — or at least mine aren’t.

I have five bushes (one didn’t make it), all of slightly different strains that were part of the OSU trials.  The plants weathered the freeze with ease, and apparently, will do just fine in the heat, as well.  Some of my bushes produce hardly any berries, others produce many small, ovoid ones, and yet others produce the long fatties.  Each one has a slightly different taste.  I’m delighted by all of them.

I didn’t have enough to make any standard jam recipe, my crop coming in just over a cup, so I improvised, knowing we’d eat this one fast and there would be no need to can the single half pint that would result.

Apparently, haskapberries have pectin, so it set up unbelievably quickly.  I may turn out to be eating haskapberry fruit leather; we shall see.  I’ll update you.  (UPDATE: Cooked too long, and the jam is slightly rubbery.  If I had just cooked it a few minutes less, it would have been OK.  I’ve never seen a no-pectin jam set up so quickly!)

Below is an improvised no-pectin recipe one can use for tiny batches of any fruit, as long as you don’t mind 1) the sugar content; 2) not really knowing if you will have loose, syrupy jam, since pectin content varies in fruit; and 3) refrigerating the final product.  I wash and sterilize my jars and lids/rings before using them, as the jam will be susceptible to mold growth after a while.  That is, if you don’t gobble it up right away.

Micro-batch Haskapberry Jam

Makes just over 1/2 pint.

  • 1 cup haskap berries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Remove leaves and debris from berries; rinse.  Crush berries and add sugar and lemon juice in 3.5 quart (not smaller) saucepan.  Boil ingredients until gelling point (see a preservation cookbook for instructions if you are unsure what this is).  This will happen fast. Pour into sterilized 1/2 pint jar and cool.  Refrigerate and consume within a couple of weeks.

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12 thoughts on “haskapberry jam — first berries of the season!

  1. Catalina 31 May 2010 / 6:58 am

    They look beautiful! Were the bushes only available as a trial or are they for sale somewhere? Yummy looking jam too! I made gooseberry jam last year and realized (too late) that they have a ton of their own pectin. Gooseberry rubber anyone? :)

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  2. Eugenia 31 May 2010 / 7:08 am

    Thanks, Catalina! I’m unreasonably pleased, even with my rubber cement jam. :)

    I bought them from our local Extension office. They did variety trials at Oregon State University for five years, if I remember correctly, and the local Master Gardener program got to pick over the leftover plants. But they do have haskapberries for sale via mail order from other places — check online. I’ve been browsing some Canadian grower sites this morning. They even have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Haskap-Berries/323479439651?ref=ts .

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  3. MikeH 31 May 2010 / 1:16 pm

    The haskap that you got from OSU are not the same as those developed by the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Maxine Thompson developed the plants that you have from a subspecies emphyllocalyx which is native to northern Japan. The University of Saskatchewan developed their plants from a subspecies called caerulea. They named their plants Haskap because they were targeting the Japanese market. All very confusing and likely to get more confusing as USask Haskap starts to be available in the US and Dr. Thompson’s Haskap starts to be more widely available in the US. And USask is starting to crossbreed Japanese and Russian varieties. And then there are the honeyberry varieties introduced by Jim Gilbert at One Green World

    For a list of suppliers of edible blue honeysuckle, see http://ediblebluehoneysuckle.ning.com/page/sources-1

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  4. Eugenia 31 May 2010 / 1:27 pm

    Thanks, Mike! I’m thrilled that someone has more information. I thought that Dr. Thompson was working with Japanese and Russian breeds, but it sounds like you know much more than I do. So just to be clear — I should call them haskapberries, right? We were told (on a long-lost info sheet) that they could be called honeyberries, haskapberries, or blue honeysuckle berries. And who was Haskap, anyway?

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  5. Gary Rondeau 31 May 2010 / 2:16 pm

    I’m going to have to get some of those! Do you think you could make a strawberry-haskapberry jam mix without added pectin?

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  6. Eugenia 1 June 2010 / 7:20 am

    Hi Gary: you could add strawberries, but I’m not sure you’d want to, as the haskapberry flavor and color are both very strong and would completely demolish the strawberry.

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  7. MikeH 2 June 2010 / 3:34 am

    I thought that Dr. Thompson was working with Japanese and Russian breeds,

    Her focus has been on the Haskap subspecies from Hokkaido. The group of researchers breeding edible blue honeysuckle is fairly small and seems to exchange germplasm so she may well be working with other subspecies as well.

    So just to be clear — I should call them haskapberries, right? We were told (on a long-lost info sheet) that they could be called honeyberries, haskapberries, or blue honeysuckle berries.

    Best, I think, to call them edible blue honeysuckle.

    And who was Haskap, anyway?

    Suppliers of edible blue honeysuckle

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  8. Eugenia 3 June 2010 / 5:13 am

    “Edible blue honeysuckle” is a big mouthful, awkward for the consumer to use — I’ll stick with haskapberry, since that’s what Maxine Thompson calls them and I don’t see anything in the literature that would make her nomenclature untrue. Thanks for all your information, Mike! And if you’re growing them, good luck!

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  9. Haskap Central Sales Ltd. 21 August 2010 / 3:12 pm

    Fall is the best time to plant haskap.

    Please visit our site http://www.haskapcentral.com for volume pricing and availability.

    Nice close-up photo! If you look closely, you’ll see the reason this berry is so healthy for you. Near the bottom of the photo, you can see that the berry is actually 2 berries with their own skin, then they are wrapped with a complete other skin. What an Amazing berry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Curtis Braaten
    Haskap Central

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  10. Eugenia 22 August 2010 / 6:29 am

    Curtis: I’m not a big fan of drive-by advertising on the blog, but I’m curious about the niche market “Haskap Central” and other haskap sellers are jockeying to form. Are you trying to argue that the berries are actually double skinned? Because that just isn’t true. And if they are, they are therefore more healthy? I’d really like it if you would substantiate these advertising claims.

    Haskapberries are delicious and an easy to grow crop for the PNW, and I would much rather see them reach success slowly than have an açai-like boom under bogus miracle cure claims. I want your farms to be successful, don’t get me wrong. I just think the taste can speak for itself.

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  11. Pingback: Culinaria Eugenius

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