Meet the Quebec honeyberry!
This summer, make it a priority to discover lesser-known local products and fill your plate with fun flavours and delicious diversity! Honeyberries—small blue oblong berries that grow in Canada’s northern forests—are among the lesser-known, but oh-so-delicious products you should try this summer. Growing in popularity, these berries boast a unique flavour and are super versatile in the kitchen. The demand for honeyberries is so great that many farmers now grow them right here in Quebec!
We take a closer look at this super fruit.
1. What exactly is a Quebec honeyberry?
Quebec has been harvesting honeyberries since 2007, the majority of which are grown in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. In addition to being robust and fruitful, honeyberry shrubs are unlikely to contract diseases and don’t have any predators, except for birds who like to steal the berries once they’re ripe! All this means that harvesting honeyberries can be done in a very organic and sustainable fashion.
Aesthetically, the honeyberry, also known as the edible honeysuckle, is a small oblong berry. Its skin is deep blue in colour, its flesh is purple and juicy, and it contains microscopic seeds that are barely visible to the naked eye. It boasts unique and complex flavours, a sort of mix between a blackcurrant, blueberry, and raspberry, with a touch of blackberry, nectarine, plum, and rhubarb. An interesting flavour palette that can be exploited a million different ways in the kitchen: think pies, muffins, cakes, jams, smoothies, vinaigrettes, chocolate, ice cream, or sauces to drizzle over meat.
2. A berry with multiple benefits
Sweet and tart, this berry is loved by young and old alike. And chefs love to incorporate it into local gourmet dishes. On top of its irresistible taste, the honeyberry boasts a ton of healthy benefits. Composed of 83% water, every 100-gram portion contains 60 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fibre, and 1 gram of protein. It is also an excellent source of amino acids, vitamins A and C, and polyphenols. Plus, it’s known to help prevent certain chronic diseases, cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. Talk about a small berry that packs a big punch!
3. A berry promising future
In addition to being delicious and packed with antioxidants, fibres, and vitamins, the honeyberry adapts perfectly to our northern climate and can be harvested organically. All of these elements are highly sought after by farmers across Quebec. And as more and more farmers turn to honeyberry harvesting, it seems this tiny fruit is about to make it big! Even our neighbours from the South are starting to fall under its charm and importation is on the rise!
You too can help this little local berry rise to stardom by buying frozen honeyberries
year-round, or fresh honeyberries when they’re in season during the month of July. Stay tuned!