This is the first year our four-year old haskap berry plants have produced enough berries to constitute a real harvest. The bushes are lush, beautiful and healthy. However, our enthusiasm for the berries is . . . waning.
The berries need about ten days more to fully mature after they turn a dark blue color. An indication of the ripeness of the berry is when you see a few under the bush which have fallen off. I think we waited at least three weeks, rather than ten days, before this happened. We kept taste testing a berry here and there to see if the flavor was changing. Nope. Just as terribly sour (picture ugly face here) as when first sampled.
Supposedly they mature before strawberries grown in the same location. Not ours. Our strawberries came in about four weeks ago and our haskap berries were harvested just this week.
The information we keep trying to gather seems conflicting. One source says they bear over a 2-3 week period. Another says a desirable characteristic of the berries is that they all ripen at once making harvest much easier. How's that for creating confusion?
Picking the haskap berries is not clean and easy. The berries are mostly "hidden" down inside the leafy bushes, and it's a game of hunt and seek to find them all. They are very wet and juicy (no, the bushes weren't wet when we picked them) resulting in fingers and hands stained with juice after picking.
The cleaning task is much more difficult than with blueberries. Removing any remaining stems (of which there were many) results in half the insides of the berry being pulled out with the stem. The juice stains any cloth with which it comes into contact. Really stains. Even commercial stain remover didn't begin to remove the stain. Fortunately, the stain did come off my hands!
The final taste test: Still sour and unpleasant. I could never eat a bowl of haskaps the way I do a bowl of blueberries.
We got somewhere between two and three quarts of the little
Well, as they say, there are no failures in gardening, only experiments. To date that's all I have to report on our experiment in growing haskap berries!