Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
The lingonberry is a evergreen shrub growing to a height of 5–30 cm. The stem of the plant are woody and the leaves have a waxy surface and are green on top and light green underneath. The lingonberry flowers in June–July. The bitter-tasting lingonberry is globose, red and juicy.
Xeric, sub-xeric, mesic boreal forests, pine or spruce bogs, in herb-rich forests, on rocky outcrops, on tundra heaths and at the edges of fields.
The best time to pick lingonberries is from late August to early October.
Lingonberries contain a significant amount of vitamin E and many different types of polyphenols. The lingonberry is rich in manganese and is also a good source of fibre. It also contains resveratrol, lignans, proanthocyanidins and resveratrol.
Lingonberries contain more polyphenol flavonoids than any other type of berry. Health claims related to lingonberry are at the moment in European Food Safety Authority EFSA's register (EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods) waiting for verification.
Lingonberries can be used as an ingredient in berry soups, porridge, casseroles, baked goods and juice. The berry is preserved by freezing, crushing, or boiling to make jelly or jam. Lingonberries have traditionally been used as a garnish for meat dishes.
To be noted
Lingoberry might be mixed with bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).
Photos: Pauliina Toivanen, Anna Nyman