What is Lingonberry?

Lingonberry are probably seen in jams, jellies, and syrups if you’ve ever shopped at Ikea in the food department. These less well-known berries grow in North America as well, although they are more popular in Scandinavia where they are used as a condiment. Despite their exotic sound, lingonberries are essential to the Nordic diet, which prioritises foraged, wild, and native foods. Both sweet and savoury applications are possible for them.

This fruit, which is small, dark red, and sour, is the Scandinavian version of cranberries in terms of both flavour and application. They originate from the same plant family as well. In Scandinavian and northern North American forests (New England, the upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Canada), the berries are a common sight on low-lying evergreen bushes.

What is Lingonberry?

Lingonberry, also known as Vaccinium vitis-idaea, is a small evergreen shrub that belongs to the Ericaceae family. It is native to the northern regions of Europe, North America, and Asia. Lingonberries are best known for their bright red berries, which are similar in appearance to cranberries.

The lingonberry plant typically grows to about 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm) in height. Its leaves are dark green, elliptical in shape, and have a slightly waxy texture. The berries themselves are round and approximately 0.4 to 0.6 inches (1 to 1.5 cm) in diameter.

Lingonberries have a tart and slightly acidic flavour, similar to cranberries. They are commonly used in culinary preparations and have significant cultural and culinary importance in Scandinavian cuisine. Lingonberry jam or sauce is a popular accompaniment to dishes like meatballs, pancakes, and porridge.

In addition to their culinary uses, lingonberries are also valued for their potential health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins (such as vitamin C), and minerals. Lingonberries have been associated with potential benefits such as supporting urinary tract health, promoting cardiovascular health, and providing anti-inflammatory properties.

What Does Lingonberry Taste Like?

Lingonberries have a tart and slightly acidic flavor. They are often compared to cranberries in terms of taste. The berries have a natural sweetness, but it is balanced by their tartness, which gives them a distinct and vibrant flavor.

The taste can vary slightly depending on the ripeness of the berries, but in general, lingonberries have a tangy and refreshing profile. When used in culinary preparations, lingonberries are often sweetened to reduce their tartness.

Lingonberry jams, sauces, and other processed products usually have added sugar to create a more balanced and enjoyable taste. In Scandinavian cuisine, lingonberry sauce is a popular accompaniment to savory dishes like meatballs or poultry, providing a sweet and tangy contrast.

Overall, lingonberries have a unique flavor profile that combines sweetness with a tart and slightly acidic tang, making them a distinctive ingredient in various culinary applications.

What are the Uses of Lingonberry?

Lingonberries have various culinary and medicinal uses. Here are some common uses of lingonberries:

Culinary Uses

Lingonberries are widely used in Scandinavian cuisine and beyond. They are often made into lingonberry jam or sauce, which is a popular accompaniment to savory dishes such as meatballs, sausages, and roasted meats. Lingonberries can also be used to make pies, desserts, and pastries. The tart flavor of lingonberries adds a unique and tangy twist to dishes.

Preserves and Condiments

Lingonberries are commonly used to make preserves, such as lingonberry jam or jelly. These preserves can be enjoyed on bread, and crackers, or used as a topping for pancakes and waffles. Lingonberry sauces and relishes are also popular condiments that can enhance the flavor of various dishes.


Lingonberries can be used to make flavorful beverages. They can be used to make lingonberry juice, which can be consumed as a refreshing drink. Lingonberries are also used in the production of liqueurs and flavored spirits.

Medicinal Uses

Lingonberries are known for their potential health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Lingonberries contain compounds that have been associated with supporting urinary tract health, promoting cardiovascular health, and providing anti-inflammatory properties.

However, it’s important to note that further scientific research is needed to fully understand and validate these potential health benefits.

Traditional and Folklore Uses

In traditional medicine and folklore, lingonberries have been used to treat various ailments, such as digestive issues, infections, and as a general tonic.

While these traditional uses exist, it’s important to consult with healthcare professionals for proper medical advice.

Does Lingonberry help to Control Weight?

Lingonberries alone cannot be considered a magical weight control solution, but they can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet that supports weight management. Here’s how lingonberries can potentially contribute to weight control:

Low in Calories

Lingonberries are relatively low in calories, which means they can be enjoyed as a flavorful addition to meals or snacks without significantly adding to overall calorie intake.

High in Fiber

Lingonberries contain dietary fiber, which can contribute to feelings of satiety and help regulate appetite. Foods rich in fiber can make you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing overeating and aiding weight management efforts.

Nutrient Density

Lingonberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Consuming nutrient-dense foods can help ensure your body receives essential nutrients while maintaining a calorie-controlled diet, supporting overall health and weight management.

Potential Blood Sugar Regulation

Some studies suggest that certain compounds in lingonberries may help regulate blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar levels can contribute to better appetite control and reduced cravings for sugary or high-calorie foods, which can support weight management.

How to Grow Lingonberry?

Like their relative the blueberry, lingonberries are perennial bushes that are low to the ground and love acid. The taller, acid-loving highbush blueberries they complement can be grown in both full sun and partial shade.

They require well-drained soil and do poorly in drought circumstances. If you want your soil to drain properly, think about adding organic matter to it. The shallow roots of lingonberries demand consistent hydration. If you don’t take precautions, this could result in a weed problem.

Since lingonberries take a while to establish from seeds, it is preferable to grow them from plants. As long as you wait until the final frost, springtime is the best time to plant lingonberries. Since lingonberry plants gradually connect to form a low hedge after a few years, it’s crucial to space them around 18 inches apart from one another.

After planting, mulch the area with straw or sawdust and pluck weeds as they emerge. There is no need to water the plants further as long as they receive an inch of rain per week. When berries are completely red, they are ready to be picked.

Does Lingonberry Cause any Allergy?

While lingonberries are generally considered safe for consumption, some individuals can have an allergic reaction to them. Allergies to lingonberries, although rare, can occur in individuals who are sensitive or allergic to other berries or certain fruits.

Symptoms of a lingonberry allergy can vary but may include:
  1. Skin reactions: Itching, hives, or rashes on the skin.
  2. Digestive symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea.
  3. Respiratory symptoms: Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing.
  4. Swelling: Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or face.

If you suspect an allergy to lingonberries or experience any of these symptoms after consuming them, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and guide you on managing and avoiding potential allergens.

It’s worth noting that cross-reactivity can occur between different berries or fruits. If you have known allergies to other berries or fruits, it is advisable to exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before consuming lingonberries or related products.

How to Store Lingonberry?

Lingonberries were essential to early Scandinavians because they are brimming with natural preservatives like benzoic acid and pectin. Because of their unique qualities, they can be kept at room temperature for months by simply putting them in a jar of water without the need for a preservative salt.

Vattlingon, a straightforward preparation of “pickled” berries in jars, was traditionally stored and served with holiday fare and at winter comfort feasts. Early usage included making rörda Klingon, a traditional Swedish lingonberry jam without cooking, by combining the raw berries with a small amount of sugar.

They freeze well if you have some in your possession that are still fresh and wish to use them later. On a rimmed baking sheet covered with wax paper, arrange them in a single layer and freeze. After that, put them in a freezer bag that can be sealed. They can last for up to a year if properly stored.


In conclusion, lingonberries are small red berries that grow on evergreen shrubs native to northern regions of Europe, North America, and Asia. They have a tart and slightly acidic flavor, similar to cranberries, but with a natural sweetness. Lingonberries are commonly used in culinary preparations, especially in Scandinavian cuisine, where they are made into jams, sauces, and other processed products.

The berries are known for their vibrant taste and are often enjoyed alongside savory dishes to provide a sweet and tangy contrast. Additionally, lingonberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and may offer potential health benefits. Whether consumed fresh, dried, or in processed forms, lingonberries are a distinctive and flavorful ingredient.