Lingonberries are super food, but only for the brave

The Finnish forests are now full of free-for-all superfood! The blueberry season is almost finished, but now it’s the perfect time to go and pick lingonberries for the winter!

This weekend I’m visiting my parents in my dear old hometown Tampere, always relaxed and nice. Also the weather was on our side, so this afternoon we decided to be brave and head to the forests.

Why brave? The challenge of picking lingonberries in the perfect spot that “only” my parents know is that one is not alone there. These hoods are packed with nasty deer flies (in Latin Lipoptena cervi, in Finnish hirvikärpänen), who come there because the forest is also popular among elks.

Someone would think we are exaggerating looking at the preparations below, but covering everything you can and closing your sleeves with some painter’s tape was only a clever and quite necessary precaution before entering the forest… as we immediately found out.

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Super stylish berry picker ;)

A super stylish berry picker… not! 😉

I don’t have photos of our little friends but after we returned to our car after 2 hours in the forest (and with 35 litres of lingonberries, all the buckets full!) we found these flies all over our bodies. Disgusting! Especially my dad seemed to be popular among them, as he’s the biggest one and these flies look for human heat.

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But it was worth it, the forest was beautiful and gave you some special energy. Looking and tasting the lingonberries now makes one feel satisfied. Tomorrow we’ll freeze the berries and enjoy extra vitamins in the winter.

What is a lingonberry? Wikipedia tells that lingonberries are native to boreal forest and Arctic tundra throughout the Northern Hemisphere from Eurasia to North America.

The berries contain many organic acids, vitamin C, A and B (B1, B2, B3), potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain phytochemicals that are thought to counteract urinary-tract infections, and the seeds are rich in  omega-3.

The amazing fact is that 90 per cent of this super food is left in the forests of Finland. And at the market lingonberries cost about 4 euros per litre. What a waste! Maybe the deer flies are too big a challenge for us.

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4 thoughts on “Lingonberries are super food, but only for the brave

  1. freebutfun says:

    Good on you, you’ve done well! Love to eat them but I rather pick the up at the markets… For the same reason you mention.

    • annsofia says:

      Thanks! I perfectly understand you, these little bugs can be very annoying… we still find them in our clothes, many hours after. :/

      Have a nice weekend!

  2. Eija Gavlick says:

    When I was still living in Finland, during ilngenberry season I would go to the woods around Helsinki and do berry picking. Most people are not aware of this fact, but during and after the wars in Finland food was not readily available and lingonberries was one way to get the C -vitamins as the short supply of foods did not offer that needed vitamin for people. We always had lingonberries in the cellar for the rainy days. The same went with the” mustikoita ” or blueberries.

    • annsofia says:

      This is very interesting! I’ve heard similar stories about the nutritive values of berries and their importance during the scarce post-war years. Luckily we had – and still have – our forests full of them!

      I hope we’ll start again to appreciate and export more of these berries, as it really is amazing that we have our forests full of this superfood but still import goji berries, chia seeds etc. from the other side of the planet!

      I

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