Generally anyone can walk into Swedish forests and pick berries. The freedom to roam in Sweden is known as the right to roam (to access any certain public or private property for recreation and exercise).
This enables many local citizens to go berry picking in the summer with their baskets and return home with ample berries to prepare juices, jams, marmalades and sauces or added to any deserts or treats.
Wild berries are recognised as being sweeter and having a more distinctive aroma, compared to garden grown berries.
• Lingonberries are from the same family as Swedish blueberries. These are sour flavoured bright red berries which became ripe for picking from late July. As these berries are not only high in healthy vitamins and minerals, their significant natural preservative content ensures the can last far longer without added additives. In bygone years these berries were often stored in buckets with water to cover them and they could last through the bitter cold winter months to supply people with high vitamin C sources.
The true jam made from them is done by stirring them with added sugar. In supermarkets cheaper Lingonberry jams have been boiled, diluted and had red currents and/or apples added.
These barriers can be served as a beverage, cocktail, added to meatball, pancakes, desert cakes, fish and a variety of other foods.
• Swedish Blueberries or bilberries are a different species to American blueberries yet closely related, same skin colour and the Swedish ones being slightly smaller in size with less sugar. Unlike American blueberries with a white/slight yellow inside, Swedish blueberries have a burgundy red inside with a purple juice. This juice is not that easy to wash away from clothes. They taste sweet and savoury, with a soft texture. The berries are usually eaten raw, made into jams, jelly, marmalade, soup, wine, soup, tea and pies.
• Bog bilberries are oval blue skinned with a pink inside, slightly bigger than Swedish blueberries. They have a bland taste.
• Rowanberries have a strong sour taste. When exposed to temperatures below freezing point, such as frost, they develop a subtle pleasant aroma. They are hardly ever eaten as plain berries. A jelly is often prepared from rowanberries, to be served with a meat roast.
• Raspberries are red and several varieties are known to be commonly growing in Swedish gardens. These berries also grow abundantly in the wild, although the bush has minor thorns they are more irritating and don’t painfully inflict wounds. These berries are juicy, sweet and soft. In Swedish supermarkets raspberry jams are widely available. The home-made jams can be prepared with fresh raspberries, a small amount of sugar and cream.
• Arctic bramble thrives in the colder northern upper regions of Sweden. They tend to be more sparse than other well-known berries growing in the country. The dark red, sweet and juicy berries have a wine like flavour that is mixed between wild strawberries and raspberries. Mesimarja is a Finnish liqueur that is made from arctic bramble berries.
• Björnbär or Swedish blackberry looks similar to a raspberry but it is a deep purple, almost black. It contains high amount of antioxidants, more than raspberries, strawberries or cranberries.
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