Latin name: Vaccinium vitis-idaea

A dwarf shrub, in the heather family with dark-green leathery leaves, and bearing small red edible berries which may be picked between late August and late September. The berries may be stored crushed or in water, since they contain a natural preservative (benzoate).

They grow wild in northern regions in pine forests, and heaths, and can grow in high altitudes. Major harvesters are Finland, Sweden, Russia and Canada.

The flavor is rather tart, and as well as being suitable for jams and jellies, Lingonberries can accompany meat, and be used in drinks.

That said, lingonberries are a cultural symbol for many Swedes in the diaspora. Since they're one of the few arctic foods that travel, we love to use them as an accompaniment to kottbullar, as a wonderful soda (for some reason, carbonated water is a real luxury Up North), and as an ingredient in the popular (Back Home) drink "Wolf's Paw" (there: grain alcohol, lingonberry juice, here: Absolut, lingonberry extract).

I daresay that you could probably ferment a seal with it, but I don't care to experiment...

IKEA carries the concentrate, if someone wishes to try it.

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