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.