About haskap berry
Haskap berries (Latin: Lonicera kamtschatica) is a variety of blue honeysuckle (Latin: Lonicera caerulea), which comes from north-east Asia. Blue honeysuckle has many varieties, and they grow mainly in the northern hemisphere, in a temperate and cool climate. Some of the varieties of this plant are successfully grown and in Polandthe most popular is haskap berry. Bushes of haskap berries grow up to 1.2-1.5 m high, their fruits are sweet and persist for a long time after ripening on the branches. It is a long-lived plant (it can bear fruit up to 65 years), easy to grow and resistant to frost. The most common English name is “haskap” or “honey berry”.
Due to its healing properties, haskap berry has been appreciated for many centuries by people living in northern Russia, China and Japan. By an indigenous Ainu tribe living on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, haskap2 berry is called the “elixir of life”. The berries are also successfully grown in such European countries as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Croatia and Poland. The plant does not require many care treatments, and additionally it is resistant to frost and disease. The berry will grow well in practically every soil and in every stand, although it performs best in slightly acidic soil and in a sunny place. During winter the plant does not require protection from frost, and during the summer it does not need watering (remember to water the plant only during the hot weather). All this makes it possible to successfully grow it using ecological methods.
Haskap berries belong to the group of the earliest ripening fruits in the season in Polish climatic conditions. The shrubs are planted in spring or autumn, and for good fruiting, at least two shrubs of different varieties should be planted next to each other (berry is pollinated – it requires pollen from another plant). They most often bear fruit in the second year after planting. The first flower buds appear in early March and develop in April. They are melliferous and have a subtle fragrance. Some of its varieties ripen for about two weeks before the first varieties of strawberries, which is undoubtedly its great asset. The taste resembles blueberry or forest berry. They have a different shape, depending on the variety. Haskap berries are purple and covered with a blue, waxy coating.
Haskap berry is widely used. Its fruits are great for jams, juices, wines or tinctures. It is used for the production of sweet buns, cakes and ice-cream. You can make teas and infusions from dry leaves, flowers and fruits. Recently, also pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies have been interested in haskap berries.
Haskap berries contain:
– vitamins C and A,
– minerals: iron, iodine, copper,
– antioxidant polyphenols (they inhibit free radicals that cause diabetes, renal failure, cancer or osteoarthritis),
– anthocyanins (up to 1400 mg / 100 g) – derivatives of cyanidin, pelargonidins, peonidins (they have antiatherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and even anti-cancer effects),
– flavonoids (140 mg / 100 g) – including rutin (acting sealingly on blood vessels and cooperating with collagen in maintaining smooth skin) and quercetin (neutralizing free radicals, supporting tumor destruction processes, inhibiting the formation of varicose veins and fatty deposits in venous vessels and preventing of cholesterol oxidation and formation of atherosclerotic plaques),
– epicatechin (it is believed that they counteract the development of diseases such as heart failure, diabetes, stroke and cancer),
– organic acids: coffee and chlorogenic (they normalize the intestinal function and protect the liver and nerve cells).
Haskap berry properties:
– strengthens blood vessels,
– inhibits haemorrhage,
– lowers blood pressure,
– relieves stomach discomfort and indigestion,
– helps in the fight against cancer and the aging of the body,
– strengthens the body,
– eliminates colds and flu,
– anti-inflammatory – inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses,
– detoxifies the body of toxins, heavy metals and medicines.