Where did the honeysuckle phenomenon come from? Is it already the new blueberry species?
For hundreds of years, the blue-berried honeysuckle has been used in traditional medicine and as food. Its exceptional health-promoting and taste properties have been known for years by the Japanese, Chinese, inhabitants of the Far East and Canadians. It is difficult to pinpoint the source of the Kamchatka berry's popularity in the 21st century. Many people hope that the blueberry will repeat its success.
This species was almost completely unknown two decades ago, but today it is grown in almost all regions of Poland, generating satisfactory profits for plantation owners. It conquers the hearts of consumers, gourmets and cooks. Their attention was drawn by its interesting bitterness. Its preserves are simply never too sweet.
"It is excellent for juices, jams, ice creams, wines or liqueurs. The original, dry taste, has attracted the attention of many chefs, bakers, confectioners, ice cream makers and food processors. They appreciate blue-berried honeysuckle right from the first contact," said Malgorzata and Piotr Posel, growers from the Malopolska region.
Fruit of the future, the fruit of eternal youthfulness
Scientific research confirms the health benefits of the blue-berried honeysuckle and products derived from its processing. The range of antioxidant properties, closely related to anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective and cardioprotective activities, is growing. Antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic activities have been proven.
Research carried out recently at Northumbria University in the UK has been widely reported in Poland. They describe the blue-berried honeysuckle as a superfood with great potential in the diet of athletes. The effect of the fruit on the performance of endurance runners was analysed and it was found that the group of athletes who consumed the fruit could run longer, as fatigue appeared in them much later than in the control group. However, in another test, this time for speed (a distance of 5 km), the runners who consumed blue-berried honeysuckle were better because they ran faster.
Since the blue-berried honeysuckle is not available for a long time, its preparations can be an excellent solution. Polyphenols, including anthocyanins, are responsible for the extraordinary properties of these fruits, which is why blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, strawberries or chokeberries - our Polish superfruits - can be safely added to the group of sports-friendly fruits.
"We are not surprised by the results of the British research and Kantar polls. It is gratifying that Poles in 2022 would most like to taste the blue-berried honeysuckle. Its attractiveness is determined by its taste and health-promoting qualities. The growing demand for healthy food fits the blue-berried honeysuckle perfectly into the 21st century. Scientists and nutritionists consider it the 'fruit of youthfulness' and, from an economic point of view, the fruit of the future', says Justyna Kusibab-Mruk, a nurseryman, grower, and processor and promoter of the blue-berried honeysuckle, Plantin.
Blue-berried honeysuckle fruit
Blue-berried honeysuckle fruit is round to oval in shape, sometimes very elongated, and can reach a weight of up to 5 g and a length of up to 5 cm, the skin is dark purple to almost black, covered with a light layer of wax. The fruit has a pleasant firmness that allows it to keep for a long time in the market. In order to fully enjoy the taste and health values of blue-berried honeysuckle, they should be picked when fully ripe, then they have a taste typical for the variety.
The best dessert varieties have hard, large and tasty fruit, suitable for picking by hand. Fruit intended for the dessert market must be picked by hand. It should also be seen that harvesting this type of fruit is very labour-intensive - one person can pick from 2 to about 4 kg per hour. They can also be harvested mechanically, if properly picked they are suitable for juices, jams, ice creams, wines and liqueurs. They are also used to obtain red food colouring. They are also an excellent product used in gastronomy, confectionery and freezing.
Blueberries from the inside
"Ripe fruits are suitable for direct consumption and freezing and processing - to make products such as juices, liqueurs, wines, jams, frozen and dried. They can be used as additives to bread, cakes, meat, sauces, yoghurt or ice cream. Wine made from these fruits is comparable to grape wine. The pioneers of winemaking are dynamically developing their production. We are all pleased that more and more people are reaching for 100% natural berry juice, which is a treasure trove of health," said Beata and Radosław Warulik, Haskap Farm.
"Blue-berried honeysuckle has a high processing potential, which it owes to its interesting bitterness. The taste of the fruit resembles a combination of raspberry, blackberry, currant and blueberry flavours. The preserves are not too sweet. The balance between acidity and sweetness also gives blue-berried honeysuckle great culinary potential," says Aneta Koter, Koter Horticultural Farm.
"In Poland, we produce more than a dozen berry species. They have the status of superfruits. The most popular include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, chokeberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, sea buckthorn and Polish kiwi berry. The range of fruits with excellent health-promoting properties is incredible. It is worth eating them and visiting our plantations. In June, it is worth going to the Kamchatka berry and strawberry plantations," says Tomasz Werner, editor-in-chief of Jagodnik.
"We study many trends that lead to the same conclusion - it is worth showing people where their food comes from. Post-pandemic, huge, hunger for naturalness and the need to take care of health. The move away from the sources of our food, often what we eat is grown somewhere on another continent. We eat food that is grown, and we don't know exactly how. Ecological ideas are growing stronger. We are learning what a carbon footprint is, and what a long distance some products travel. This is how we come to understand that what is really good for us is what is local. We understand more and more that we are evolutionarily adapted to this," said Agata Zadrożna, Kantar Public expert.
Source: Poland Daily 24, PAP, Krajowy Związek Grup Producentów Owoców i Warzyw