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Lingonberry - A Superfruit from the Northern Hemisphere

Updated on October 30, 2013

Add Lingonberries to Your Diet for the Health Benefits

Lingonberries have long been a source of beneficial nutrition for Scandinavians and those living in the Northern Hemisphere where the lingonberries grow wild in the forests during the summer months.

Natural preservatives (benzoic acid) and pectins found in lingonberries allow this berry to be stored for months at room temperature.

The preserved lingonberries, with their nutritional benefits, helped the Northern Hemisphere people survive long winter months with a source of several important vitamins; this may explain why they are used in so many different Finnish and Swedish dishes. There are many different ways of eating or drinking lingonberries from dried to powdered to drinks and even chocolate covered versions.

Thanks to health promoters like Dr. Oz calling lingonberries "The New Superfruit," people in the U.S. are starting to discover the health benefits of these distinctive berries.

Read more about the Lingonberry, the superfruit from the Northern Hemisphere including some great recipes for including lingonberries in your diet.

Lingonberries from kimtaro

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Image by khianti
Image by khianti

Lingonberries Growing by khianti

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Health Benefits of Lingonberries

Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon

Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Lingonberries or Cowberries

Lingonberries are native to the northern hemisphere in the temperate, boreal and arctic regions of Europe and North America. They are usually found in forests around lichens and mosses and grow as a small evergreen shrub. Their extensive root system (rhizomes) allow them to spread out over an area.

Botanists refer to lingonberries as Vaccinium vitis-idaea. They are informally known as cowberries and in some areas as "mountain cranberries" or "dry bog cranberries" yet lingonberries should not be confused with cranberries. They have their own slightly tart, slightly sweet distinctive flavor.

Other names for lingonberries include: bearberry, csejka berry, cowberry, cougarberry, dry ground cranberry, foxberry, northern mountain cranberry, partridge berry, red whortle berry, rock cranberry, and whimberry.

See where Lingonberries can be found in North America's Northern Hemisphere by looking at the Distribution Map of Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. from the USDA's Plant Database.

For more information on growing lingonberry read The Mighty Lingonberry by the National Gardening Association.

Lingonberry Wall Decal available on Amazon

Lingonberries on The Dr. Oz Show

Dr. Oz looks at the health benefits of lingonberries, the latest superfruit his show.

Nutritional Benefits of Lingonberries

The lingonberry has the highest concentration of antioxidants (30% more) of all the berries.

As a rich source of vitamin C, lingonberries were used as a cold remedy by the Northern Hemisphere dwellers—Scandinavians and native tribes of northern Canada.


  1. Vitamin A
  2. Vitamin C
  3. Magnesium
  4. Antioxidants
  5. Flavanoids
  6. Anthocyanin
  7. Benzoic acid (Natural preservative)
  8. Lignins
  9. Fiber

Lingonberries May Help Suppress Postparandial Glycemia

According to a 2012 study looking at the "Postprandial glucose, insulin, and free fatty acid responses to sucrose consumed with blackcurrants and lingonberries in healthy women" published in the AJCN (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), the researchers discovered that "berries may reduce the digestion and absorption of sucrose and thereby suppress postprandial glycemia lingonberries, as either whole berries or nectars, optimize the postprandial metabolic responses to sucrose."

This means that eating berries (lingonberries and blackcurrants) as purées may help in reducing the digestion and absorption of sucrose and which helps suppress postprandial glycemia (or high blood sugars).

It will be interesting to see the potential clinical applications for these research results. Perhaps lingonberries purées (or other forms) may be used in the future to help manage the sugar spikes seen in different clinical settings.

Lingonberry - The New Superfruit for 2012

In this video uploaded from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (karenhowardaanp) Peter Bongiorno N.D., L.Ac. discusses the health benefits of lingonberries, being touted as the new superfruit for 2012.

Dried Lingonberries

Lingonberries - Dried - One Pound - Organic - Sweetened with Agave
Lingonberries - Dried - One Pound - Organic - Sweetened with Agave

These dried lingonberries are make from 100% wild Finnish lingonberries dried in the U.S. They do not use any additives or add any sugar.

Dried lingonberries can be used in any recipe that calls for dried cranberries (crasins) and in many other recipes.

 

Books on Cooking with Lingonberries

More Articles on Lingonberries

A collection of articles on lingonberries including general information, health benefits and information on growing lingonberries.

Ways of Serving Lingonberries

Lingonberries are available in many different food types, which is fortunate for those of us who do not live in the extreme Northern Hemisphere. Lingonberries can be found frozen, in jams and preserves, as a sugared form, dried, in powdered form and as drinks and syrups.

Nordic Recipe Archive offers several suggestions for serving lingonberries, particularly sugared lingonberries or lingonberry jam, based on how lingonberries are served in Finland and in Sweden some of which have been included in the list below.


  1. As an accompaniment to savory meat or game dishes.
  2. With stuffed cabbage rolls
  3. In desserts - parfaits, molds, milk shakes and smoothies
  4. On breads, rolls and crackers
  5. Mix into granola or trail mix.
  6. As toppings on porridges and salads

Lingonberry Sauce

Image by Helena Jacoba
Image by Helena Jacoba

IKEA Lingonberry Sauce from Helena Jacoba

Lingonberry Jam

Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon

Eating Lingonberry Preserves

Lingonberry jam or lingonberry preserves is one of the most popular ways of eating Lingonberries.

You can find Lingonberry jam and preserves from specialty Scandinavian stores and from different countries on Amazon and eBay.

If you would rather make you own (and have access to fresh or frozen lingonberries) you can try your hand at making Lingonberry Jam. Fine lingonberry jam or rarorda lingon is made by mixing lingonberries with a bit of sugar and water. The natural preservatives and pectins in lingonberries allowed them to be stored for months at room temperature even without cooking.

To make a more traditional style jam use Irenemaria's Lingonberry Jam Recipe that she has shared on Squidoo or try the Lingonberry Jam from the Nordic Recipe Archive.

Don't these Wild Lingonberry Preserves on english muffins or crumpets look delicious?

Wild Lingonberry Preserves available on Amazon

Cooking Lingonberry Jam

Image by kimtaro
Image by kimtaro

Cooking Lingonberry Jam by kimtaro

Lingonberries from IKEA

Lingonberry Jam can be found at IKEA

If you can't find lingonberries at your local store or local specialty Scandinavian stores you can find lingonberries for eating and drinking at one of my favorite places to shop, IKEA.

IKEA sells Sylt Lingon or as we know it in the U.S. Lingonberry jam. This IKEA Lingonberry jam can also be found on Amazon and eBay.

At IKEA you can also find boxed lingonberry drinks. Look for Dryck Lingon (Lingonberry drink) in individual lunch-sized juice boxes and Saft Lingon (Lingonberry drink concentrate) that can be made into drinks or used for cooking.

IKEA Lingonberry Jam (Sylt Lingon) from maureendiddle

Image by maryamandathompson
Image by maryamandathompson

This easy lingonberry smoothie recipe is one that was recommended by Dr. Oz for anyone wanting to get a healthy flavanoid boost.

Keep a jar of Lingonberry jam around and your favorite milk source and you can make this healthy smoothie in minutes anytime.

  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Lingonberry Jam or Frozen Lingonberries
  • 2 cups unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • Optional: Dash of Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. 1. Mix together lingonberries with almond milk.
  2. 2. Add ice and blend.
  3. 3. Top with a dash of cinnamon or mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.Notes:
  4. When using frozen lingonberries, if they do not have sugar, you may want to add in some of your favorite sweetener (honey, stevia, organic sugar) and cut down on the amount of additional ice.
  5. Change the almond milk to any of your favorite milks.
  6. Add in a bit of Greek yogurt or protein powder to increase the protein in your smoothie.
  7. Image of Berry Smoothie from maryamandathompson
Cast your vote for Easy Lingonberry Smoothie Recipe

More Ways of Eating Lingonberries

Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon

Lingonberry Drinks, Concentrate and Syrup

Lingonberries can also be enjoyed as drinks, as sparkling beverages and as mixed drinks. IKEA even sells Dryck Lingon or a Lingonberry drinks in lunch-sized juice boxes.

Lingonberry juice can also be incorporated as a main ingredient into blended drinks, some for adults only. Use it in any drink that you might use cranberry juice.

More versatile than Maple syrup. the slightly sweet and slightly tart Lingonberry sauce / syrup found from Austria is eaten with many different dishes. This lingonberry syrup is not only eaten with pancakes and crepes, but also on meat dishes like poultry, pork, meatballs and wild game.

For those who love chocolate, Finland's Fazer company makes a Gourmet Lingonberry Parfait chocolate bar. Look for the Lingonberry Parfait Chocolate Bar in Scandinavian specialty stores that stock Fazer chocolate on Amazon and also in eBay.

Lingonberry Syrup available on Amazon

Cocoa Lingonberry Porridge

Image by cyberhill
Image by cyberhill

Cocoa Berry Porridge by cyberhill

Lingonberry Recipes

Image from ilovemypit
Image from ilovemypit

Mixture of Lingonberry Recipes

Lingonberries, a Scandinavian favorite berry, can be incorporated into many different types of recipes from breakfast to dinner and as seen above as drinks and beverages.

Recipes like these Scandinavian Inspired Oats to the right are quick and easy to make. To create this healthy breakfast (or even a lunch) just top a serving of your favorite oats with greek yogurt, lingonberry jam and sliced almonds.

Rye porridge is a Finnish staple and can be made quickly and topped with a dollop of lingonberry jam.

My personal favorite way of eating lingonberries is as Vispipuuro or a Whipped Lingonberry Porridge sometimes referred to as a Lingonberry Mousse.

Disney has served Lingonberry Mousse in the Scandinavian Kiosk at one of their and a Epcot Food & Wine Festivals.

One of the recipes that I definitely want to try after doing all of this research is the Lingonberry and red cabbage salad.

Lingonberries on Scandinavian inspired oats from ilovemypit

Easy Lingonberry Porridge Recipe

One of the easiest ways to add lingonberries to your diet is to add them as a topping to a healthy porridge, like the Cocoa Berry Porridge above.

Try this Finnish rye porridge (Rusipuuro) and top with sugared lingonberries or lingonberry jam for an authentic Finnish treat.

Rye Flakes on Amazon

Rye is a healthy grain used a lot in Finnish cooking.

Image by thepinkpeppercorn
Image by thepinkpeppercorn

Vispipuuro - Whipped Lingonberry Porridge

Vispipuuro (Finland) or Klappgröt (Sweden) is a traditional sweet whipped porridge made with berries, usually lingonberries.

  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup lingonberries (frozen or jam or juice)
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Cream of Wheat or semolina

Instructions

  1. 1. Boil water in a pan.
  2. 2. Add lingonberries, lingonberry jam or juice.
  3. 3. Add sugar.
  4. Note: If using lingonberry jam or juice, cut back on the amount of sugar added.
  5. 4. Boil mixture for 10 minutes.
  6. 5. If smoother mousse is desired, strain lingonberries and pour liquid back into the pan.
  7. 6. Add Cream of Wheat and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
  8. 7. Allow to cool.
  9. 8. Once mixture has cooled, transfer into a mixing bowl to whip.
  10. 9. Whip vispipuuro until light and fluffy.
  11. 10. Serve with milk and sugar.
  12. This delicious lingonberry mousse can also be made with cranberries, apricots, gooseberries and strawberries.
  13. Image by Thepinkpeppercorn

Vispipuuro Recipes - Whipped Berry Porridge

More versions of the Vispipuuro recipe.

Lingonberry Mousse Recipes

Some of these versions use Rye flour to make a delicious whipped lingonberry mousse.

More Recipes Using Lingonberries

More delicious ways to enjoy lingonberries.

More Lenses about Finland

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Do you think you will try some lingonberries now?

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    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @Echo Phoenix: It is. I recommend trying some.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      Yummy lens, the jam looks divine:)

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @getmoreinfo: You should try some.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @aquarian_insight: Thank you.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      These Lingonberry Recipes look great.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Next time I am in IKEA I will definitely be picking up some lingonberry jam. Thank you so much for this lens - there is a wealth of information here on the benefits and uses of lingonberries. *blessed*

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @JohnTannahill: The Giant Round Bread (hardtack) is Knäckebröd. They also offer it as smaller sized circles.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @JohnTannahill: We love going to IKEA, for the Lingonberries and for other fun things.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I discovered lingoberry sauce and jam on a trip to Sweden. Now it's the main reason for going to Ikea. That and the jars of herrings and the giant round bread things with a hole in the middle. Mostly the lingonberries though.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I discovered lingoberry sauce and jam on a trip to Sweden. Now it's the main reason for going to Ikea. That and the jars of herrings and the giant round bread things with a hole in the middle. Mostly the lingonberries though.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      When I was a kid something happened to the cranberry bogs in Cape Cod, where our Thanksgiving cranberries came from. My mother found some lingonberry sauce instead and we had it with the turkey. It was okay. The sauce was a little sour for a kid's mouth...

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @DebMartin: With all of the Finnish transplants in Michigan, I would be surprised if you couldn't find Lingonberries.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens. Great information. Outstanding photos. Now if I can just find those berries here in N. Michigan.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @pawpaw911: You should try them, if only for the health benefits.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      I have never had Lingonberries, but they certainly sound worth eating.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @Brite-Ideas: Hope you get a chance to try it again, this time for the health benefits.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @AngryBaker: Let me know when you get a recipe lens done so I can add it to the page.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      great lens with lots of detail! I have had Ligonberry Jam - my hubby bought it Ikea, it was pretty good (although I had it a while ago)

    • profile image

      AngryBaker 5 years ago

      I'll be adding some to my baking!