Nutritious Blue Berries You Can Grow Here

by Jan Cashman 9/19/19

Ever hear of “Haskaps”? I hadn’t but I found out they are shrubs with berries that are in the honeysuckle genus (Lonicera) also called Honeyberry, Yezberry or Blue Honeysuckle. Dr. Mac Burgess from the Montana State University Plant Sciences department is doing research on them along with other fruiting shrubs that produce a nutritious berry. Many of these berries are blue in color. Besides honeyberry, these nutritious “blue” fruits include elderberry, currants, chokeberry, and Saskatoon or juneberry. I would also include Mount Royal plum, purple grapes like Beta and blueberries and huckleberries in this category. Following is a chart of the characteristics of some of these nutritious berries. All are hardy, drought tolerant, and easy to grow. And they are all highly nutritious sources of antioxidants, Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.


Common Name Genus/Species Height Uses Other
Honeyberry Lonicera caerulea 3-4′ Eat fresh, jam, jelly, pies, tastes like blueberries Need 2 different varieties to pollinate. Takes 3 years to get fruit. Protect from birds. Gold fall leaf color.
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis 8-10′ Pies, jam, jelly, wine Fast grower, bitter flavor, some are native. Plant Adams subspecies with York for good pollination.
Black Currant Ribes nigrum 4-6′ Jam, jelly, syrup, sauces, oils, liqueurs Strong tart flavor. Red fall color. 
Glossy Black Chokeberry Aronia malanicarpa 4′, compact Eat fresh, pies, jam, jelly White flowers, red fall color, disease and pest free.
Juneberry/Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia 6-18′ Pancakes, pies, dried for pemmican and trail mix

White flowers. Good fall leaf color. Native species. Yellow to red fall leaf color. 

Of course, fruit does not have to be blue in color to be nutritious. Cherries, strawberries, and raspberries are a few red fruits we can raise in our gardens here that are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So plant one or more of these to make your yard not just beautiful, but fruitful.