Indulge in Healthiness
Hi Craig,Community gardeners here in Calgary are beginning to grow haskap berries and are asking: how do you tell when a haskap berry is good for eating and ready to be picked? They report to me that they have tried picking but tend to pick too early but then when they leave the berries to ripen the next day the berry has fallen onto the ground and has begun to decompose. Any suggestions about signs for successful harvesting?Thanks a lot!Gael BlackhallCommunity Garden Resource NetworkA project supported by The Calgary Horticultural Society, The Calgary Foundation and Evergreencommunitygardens@calhort.org
Dear Gael,Thanks for checking in. That's a great question!Ripeness is always a relative term. In visiting with various producers it is evident that different producers are looking to harvest at different times depending on the market to which they want to appeal. Some will harvest earlier when the berry is firm with juice since they are looking for sheer tonnage. Others will wait for the sugar to be at its peak, with a possible loss in weight. The characteristics of haskap berries at each stage is only beginning to come to light. One producer recentl reported that they ate a pie make with not fully matured haskap and found that it badly needed sugar!In my monitoring of my own orchard there was a distinct correlation between the inner colour of the berry and its sugar content. In one Russian variety of edible blue honeysuckle the berry jumped 4 Brix points (from 10 to 14) in seven days alone! The external colour looked virtually the same during this time. But the inner meat colour had changed dramatically from mixed purple-green to purple. A refractometre is a simple tool to use in monitoring this change in sugar content and will help you better understand what you are looking at.I am surprised that you have found haskap berries on the ground as they are capable of being on the bush late into the summer. Some will fall, but my own observations are that birds are more often the culprit in my orchard when I find berries in that state...or in the case of a friend, high winds (60/70+ kph). We do recommend netting haskap for birds?I will check with others at Haskap Day (July 17) to see what they are experiencing, so check back...will we see you there?!Craig
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