Native to North America and Asia, honeyberry plants are known for their sweet taste and potential health benefits. You can consume them raw or cooked, which makes them the ideal complement to any dish.
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This article explores what a honeyberry is, where they come from, how they taste and when you can easily access them while fresh from the farm.
What is honeyberry?
Honeyberry is a type of edible berry that belongs to the honeysuckle family. They are elongated, typically 2–3 cm long and 1–2 cm wide. Their color ranges from light green when unripe to deep purple or black when ripe.
Honeyberries grow on small shrubs with glossy green leaves, reaching three feet tall. The berries tend to ripen later than other varieties of fruit, usually mid-summer through early fall, depending on the region they’re grown.
Also Read: Kiwi Berries
Origins of honeyberries
Honeyberries, also known as haskap berries, are native to the colder regions of Asia and Eastern Europe. They were first discovered in Russia and Siberia over 300 years ago. The Russian name for honeyberry is “haskap”, which means “very sweet”.
Honeyberries are a member of the honeysuckle family, making them cousins with blueberries, raspberries, and currants! The honeyberry’s scientific name is Lonicera caerulea.
What does a honeyberry taste like?
Honeyberries have a unique and delicious taste, unlike any other berry. They are sweet, tart, juicy and slightly tangy. They taste sweet and are often used for making jams, jellies, syrups, wines and other food products.
The outer skin is somewhat sour, while the inside flesh is juicy and sweet. Some even say they can detect notes of vanilla in their flavor profile!
Honeyberry’s sweetness is much more subtle than other berries like strawberries or raspberries, but it can be noticeable if you’re eating them fresh off the bush. You’ll also find that their texture is similar to grapes – they are soft yet firm when ripe.
Can you eat honeyberries raw?
Yes. You can eat honeyberries raw! You’ll want to ensure they’re ripe before consuming them, though. Unripe berries may taste sour or bitter.
Raw honeyberries are delicious, and you can toss them into salads or yogurt parfaits for added sweetness and nutrition. They also make great smoothie additions if you’re looking for an extra nutrient boost.
You may also want to learn more about tayberries
How to eat honeyberries
Eating honeyberries is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy the sweet taste of summer. Here are some ways you can enjoy this unique fruit:
- In Salads: Honeyberries are a great addition to salads, adding their tart sweetness to any combination of greens and vegetables. Topping up your salad with five to ten honeyberries enriches the flavor and nutrients.
- As Toppings: Honeyberries make an excellent topping for ice cream, pancakes or waffles! Their bright color will add an eye-catching touch too.
- In Smoothies: Honeyberry smoothies are both refreshing and healthy. Blend with your favorite fruits, strawberries or blueberries, for a nice flavor.
- Straight From The Plant: If you can access fresh honeyberry plants, you can pick and consume them as part of your fruit serving or a snack.
When are honeyberries in season in the United States?
Honeyberries are in season from June to August in the United States. Generally, they start ripening around mid-June to early August.
However, in varied locations, you may find honeyberries earlier or later than this since they come in several varieties, each with its distinct flavor and season.
Here is a breakdown of the significant honeyberry varieties that you can find in the US:
- Tundra honeyberry: This variety is cold-hardy and requires low maintenance. It has an early harvest season from late May to mid-June, producing medium-sized berries with a tart taste.
Pense Berry Farm, located in Mountainburg, Arkansas, is a rich source of Tundra honeyberry plants.
- Borealis Honeyberry: This variety has a sweet flavor and ripens slightly later than other honeyberries, usually between mid-June to early July.
- Aurora Honeyberry: This is an early-season variety which ripens in late May and is harvested through late June, just before the strawberry season. Aurora makes a good companion for Borealis as cross-pollinating them leads to higher yields and improved quality.
If you are not far from Edmonton by the way, you can access Aurora honeyberry trees from The Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, which is 25 Km North of the city of Edmonton.
- Indigo Gem Honeyberry: This variety is well known for its high yields and is ready for harvest between mid-June and mid-July. Sorelle Farms is known to produce Indigo Gem trees.
Primarily, all honeyberry varieties do well in partial shades to well-lit areas, well-drained soils and dry to average moisture. They barely survive in poorly drained or flooded areas.
Where to find honeyberries near me in the US?
Honeyberries are widely found at local farmers’ markets.
For instance, the Practical Farmers of Iowa have specialized in cultivating honeyberries, from planting through tending to harvesting and packaging. Their U-Pick operation is located in Minnesota, around Bagley.
If you want to buy honeyberries near you, you can use the internet to search “honeyberry farm” or “U-pick honeyberry farm near me”. Look for farms that offer U-Pick options so that you can pick them fresh from the plant.
You may also find small independent sellers on websites such as Love Honeyberry, who sell freshly harvested honeyberries seasonally.
What is the price of honeyberries in the US?
Honeyberries are priced differently depending on the region and availability. You can expect to pay $2-$5 per pound for fresh honeyberries in the United States.
If you’re looking for a good deal, one option is to look for U-Pick farms near you, as they offer honeyberries at a discounted rate. You can also purchase frozen honeyberries online or in some grocery stores, usually averaging $5 a pound.
If you love other types of berries, you may want to check the price trends for berries across different types of berries in the US.