Lingonberry, the super winter fruit

Lingonberry, often confused with blueberry or cranberry, is a small red berry that has health benefits of its own. Among other things, it is necessary to underline its vitamin C content and antioxidant active ingredients essential for the optimal functioning of the organism. In the kitchen too, this astonishing little fruit has many surprises in store. 

Characteristics of lingonberry

  • Rich in antioxidants;
  • Source of vitamin C and potassium;
  • Diuretic;
  • Helps prevent cystitis and urinary tract infections.

 Nutritional and caloric values ​​of lingonberry

For 100 g of lingonberries:

NutrientsAverage content
Water90.7 g
Carbohydrates8.7 g
Lipids0.1 g
Protein0.4 g
Potassium320 mg
Magnesium20 mg
Calcium56 mg
Vitamin C8 mg
Fibers2 g
Energy25 kcal
Energy104.5 kJ

Very low in calories, bilberry has its place as part of a varied and balanced diet. It is consumed above all for its content of micronutrients essential for the functioning of the body. The majority of these nutrients are: 

  • Potassium: if you want to take care of your muscle health, bilberry should be included in your diet: its potassium content, added to that found in other everyday foods, will allow you to cover your needs;
  • Vitamin C: if its content is not as high as other fruits, bilberry is often consumed in large quantities in recipes, so we can enjoy the antioxidant benefits of vitamin C.

 The benefits of lingonberries

Lingonberry has a small fruit full of virtues. Its water, antioxidant and micronutrient content give it some health benefits that it would be a shame to miss out on. 

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A berry with moisturizing properties 

With a water content that tops out at around 90%, bilberry is very hydrating. It can therefore be easily consumed in the form of juice to maintain good hydration of the body.

The antioxidant power of lingonberries

It is the tannins contained in bilberry that give it its. It is a very effective fruit for limiting cellular aging and regenerating tissues.

Diuretic effects

 

Thanks to flavonoids and mineral salts, bilberry will allow you to properly eliminate excess water in your body.

Prevention of cystitis

 

Lingonberry juice is the most effective in preventing cystitis ( urinary tract infections ), in fact it has been proven that bilberry acts against the Escherichia Coli bacteria which is often present in cystitis.

A word from the nutritionist

With only 25 kcal per 100g of lingonberries, the energy intake remains very moderate and will therefore allow you to consume bilberry if you are looking to lose weight! 

 How to choose the right cranberries?

Lingonberry is a small acid berry with a bright red color. Although it is often confused with cranberries, it can be recognized by its fruits, about 0.6 cm long, which grow in clusters and whose flesh is white, sour and pulpy at the same time. 

Lingonberry identity card

  • Family: ericaceae;
  • Origin: Europe and North America;
  • Season: August to September;
  • Red color ;
  • Flavor: acid.
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Lingonberry is a semi-shrubby plant that likes to grow in mountainous and very hardy areas. Indeed, this plant can grow up to 3000 meters of altitude and supports temperatures down to -25 ° C. Its small, very sour red fruits are harvested at the end of summer when they are slightly wilted and bright in color. 

Pay attention to maturity  

Ripe lingonberries should be small and red, and may be slightly mealy. Its peduncle must be very green and it must be swollen like a gooseberry.

Seasonality of lingonberry

Lingonberry is found at full maturity in August and September. However, it is rare to find fresh bilberries in France, they are more often found canned, desiccated or frozen.

How to store bilberry properly?

If you buy it fresh, bilberry should be kept in the crisper of the refrigerator. Highly concentrated in water, it is fragile and will not withstand long storage (a few days at most).

 How to prepare lingonberries?

Very sour if eaten raw, bilberry is sweeter if cooked and possibly prepared with a little sugar.

Lingonberry sauce

The most popular recipe is the famous Nordic lingonberry sauce, which goes perfectly with poultry and meat dishes. You can also combine blueberries with duck breasts to enhance them.

How to cook bilberries in a sweet version

Its very acidic flavor prevents it from being consumed raw as it is, on the other hand it can be made into tasty jams or eaten dry in cakes and cakes or even in juice.

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 Contraindications and allergies

Given its almost irreproachable nutritional profile, there are few contraindications to the consumption of raw cranberries. However, bilberry can pose a problem when consumed in concentrated form, in gemmotherapy for example, or in the form of processed and sweet products. 

Hormone-dependent cancer

Due to its particular composition and its action mimicking that of estrogen, the consumption of lingonberry is not recommended in people with a history of hormone-dependent cancers. This contraindication is particularly true when bilberry is consumed in the form of lingonberry bud (gemmotherapy). 

Beware of sugary by-products

Lingonberry, in its natural form, is a small, very sour berry. This is why foods and drinks that contain bilberry are also often high in added sugars. In order not to lose the benefits of bilberry and to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, it is therefore essential to read food labels carefully to be able to make the right choices.

 History and anecdotes

The term “lingonberry” is used to designate plants which belong to different species, and subspecies, of the genus Vaccinium. It is also used to designate all the edible fruits from these plants. 

There are dozens of different lingonberries, including large-fruited bilberries, small-leaved bilberries, blueberries, bilberries and black bilberries. 

Lingonberry can be confused with cranberry or blueberry, which are also part of the so-called vaccinium berry family but which have very different flavors and benefits.