Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sweetberry Honeysuckle or Blue-berry Honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea)
Do you recognise those oblong blueberry lookalikes? These are the ripe berries of Lonicera caerula or sweet honeysuckle aka blue-berry honeysuckle (depending on your country of residence, you may know them as le chèvrefeuille bleu, haskap berries (whose flavour is considered to be superior to other blue honeysuckles), honeyberry, marjasinikuusama, blåbärstry, Жимолость съедобная, Blaue Heckenkirsche/Blaue Doppelbeere or something else; söödav kuslapuu/sinine kuslapuu in Estonian). In general the honeysuckle berries are somewhat bitter and mildly poisonous, and it's just the fragrant flowers that are used for making cordial, sorbet etc, for instance (just look at all those posts on FoodBlogSearch). However, the berries of blue-berry or sweet honeysuckle are edible and that's what we've got growing in our garden:
Being one of the first berries to ripen in our Northern climate (just after rhubarb and before strawberries), the blue-berry honeysuckle is a useful source of vitamins and excellent berry flavour. As it's only a second year our honeysuckle bush carries any berries, there are not really enough for making jam or juice or ice cream. I served them on Midsummer eve, piling them on top of my all-time favourite cheesecake, throwing in a handful of wild strawberries as well (also from our own garden, of course).