Do honeyberries (haskap) ripen off bush, and dehydrating tips

We are busy picking honeyberries from our 3 year old orchard of 850 bushes planted in 2011, but here are a few things we have learned about the fruit.

2014-06-21 Unripe berries

June 21, 2014 Tundra berries picked and set inside cupboard to see if they would ripen off bush.

2014-07-06 Unripe berries

Nineteen days later, on July 7, 2014 the berries had all turned blue on outside, but what about the inside?

2014-07-09 Unripe berry guts 8 brix

Looks pretty green, and at 8 brix, it’s pretty sour. Other berries which ripened on the bush were running between 11 and 14 brix.

We are freezing most of what we pick as it is the fastest thing right now, but here are some other ideas for preserving the berries.

Honeyberries dehydrated (2)

Fresh berries do not dehydrate well in the electric dryer.

The berries are of uneven size so dry unevenly, with the smaller ones turning crisp and the larger berries staying juicy, even after a day in the dryer. Better just to leave them out for a month and let them dehydrate naturally.

Honeyberry Fruit Leather

Honeyberry fruit jerky (fruit leather)

Put berries into blender, add honey for pliability and sugar to taste (honey alone may overpower the berry flavor), grease the tray with a mild flavored oil such as coconut oil, and dehydrate a few hours. You can start out at 160 F and then turn down to 115 F says my dehydrating manual for blueberries. Or just stick it into your vehicle with the windows rolled up on a sunny day! Dry until able to lift pieces off the tray. This will keep for months, if not years!

Sanford hospital Bemidji pickers

Berry picking is contagious – just ask these nurses and their kids from Sandford Hospital in Bemidji, MN!

Finally, a big thank you to the adventurous U-Pickers of all ages (babes in arms to 90+ year olds) who ventured to our farm to pick, and then told and gave samples to their friends and family!


About honeyberrylady

Growing honeyberries and other cold hardy fruit (dwarf sour cherries, saskatoons, currants, gooseberries, aronia, elderberry, and goji) in zone 3a, just north of the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, USA.
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