Learn all about this tart berry, including how to cook with it.

By Lauren Wellbank
March 12, 2021
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lingonberries in wood bowl
Credit: Getty Images / Westend61

The Lingonberry is known for its scarlet red berries that pack a striking sour-sweet flavor, according to Mee McCormick, owner and founder of Pinewood Kitchen & Mercantile. She says that these berries can brighten up traditional fish, pork (like our Baked Country Ham with Honey Mustard and Lingonberry Jam), and turkey recipes. "They are a cousin to cranberries and have a similar tart and slightly sweet taste," McCormick says. "What they have most in common is that they are loaded with antioxidants, support a healthy gut microbiome, and are used to aid in treating urinary tract problems." They can also be used in sauces, jams, cocktails, and even sweet treats.

What Is a Lingonberry?

Lingonberry is a red berry that grows on the stems of a plant by the same name. The Lingonberry is part of the same family as blueberries, huckleberries, and cranberries, and it can sometimes go by the names mountain cranberry, foxberry, and cowberry. While they're more common to find growing in the wilds of Scandinavia, people living in the U.S. can sometimes find them growing in the Pacific Northwest and far Northeastern states.

Using Fresh Lingonberries

If you're lucky enough to find fresh berries, Patricio Duffo, culinary director of Spice Tribe, an ethically sourced spice company from San Francisco Bay Area, says they are perfect for making jams, preserves, or even fermenting. "[The] best way to use Lingonberry is in juices, syrups, jams, baked goods, sauces, wines, and even cocktails," Duffo says, adding that you can extend their shelf life by freezing them or keeping them in sugar.

Preserving Lingonberries

Because of the pectin and benzoic acid, which is found in high amounts in Lingonberries, they keep well without additional preservatives. This is due to the fact that Lingonberries basically make their own preserve, Mee explains. "Lingonberries are much like cranberries and do not require pectin or cornstarch because as they cook and open up creating their own gel that serves as a thickener," she adds.

How to Cook with Pre-Made Lingonberry Products

Lingonberries may be tart like cranberries, but they're more similar to blueberries in texture, according to Van Hurd, executive chef, Citizen Chicken & Donuts, which makes them perfect for glazes and jams. "The taste is similar to fresh currants, and lingonberry jam will be similar to a cranberry jam, but much less tart," he says. "Lingonberry jam can be found in the grocery section of IKEA stores ($12.73, amazon.com)—our glaze recipe is adapted to use that jam as that is easy to find for most US residents."

How to Make a Lingonberry Glaze

You can create a glaze using the jam with Van Hurd's Lingonberry Glaze Recipe. You just need two tablespoons of the jam, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and two cups of powdered sugar. "Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use eggbeaters to blend until the consistency is smooth," he says. You can use it over cake, cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, or donuts.

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