LTH Home

Bilberries

Bilberries
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Bilberries

    Post #1 - September 5th, 2007, 11:14 am
    Post #1 - September 5th, 2007, 11:14 am Post #1 - September 5th, 2007, 11:14 am
    Bilberry season is nearing its close here in Sweden. However, this season has been a seriously abundant one so any Sweden currently without at least a few jars of bilberry jam has nothing to blame but themself.

    As I was myself a little uncertain until recently, I should probably take a second to try to explain the difference between bilberries and blueberries. The difference is actually quite small - both belong to Vaccinium genus so they are very closely related. Bilberry bushes are much smaller than blueberry bushes, the berries do not grow in clusters (as I believe blueberries do) and the berries themselves are smaller. Flavor-wise, they are similar although I personally find bilberries more intense, flowery and sweet than blueberries. The true test, however, is to check one's fingers after picking a few. If they are non-stained, you are picking blueberries. If they are turning purple, you've probably got your hands on a bilberry plant.

    I took my children out bilberry picking a few weeks ago and I thought I'd post a few photos.

    Bilberries grow just about everywhere in Sweden as long as one can find a little forest. Heck, we've got a spot that has about an acre of trees within about 200 yards from our house and you'll find bilberries there. However, it's much more enjoyable to make an adventure out of the hunt.

    We usually drive about 20 minutes North of our house:

    Image

    While slightly unwelcoming, the boom isn't a concern when picking bilberries (or mushrooms or flowers or nuts for that matter). Sweden has a law (called "allemansrätt" or, "every person's right") that gives every person the right to pick berries, flowers or mushrooms (as well as put up a tent or anchor your boat) despite the ownership of the land one picks on. So, we just crawled under it.

    After a few minutes of walking, we found ourselves in a forest filled with bilberry plants ready for picking.

    Image

    The real challenge when picking bilberries with three small children does not lie in the picking but in the babysitting. Luckily, the oldest two are excellent pickers themselves (even if very few berries end up outside of their mouths):

    Image

    And, with a little help, even the 1-year old can be entertained:

    Image

    Bilberry picking is hungry work though, so a thermos filled with hotdogs is a welcome addition to any bilberry picking expedition.

    Image

    Hmmm... Were those blueberries of bilberries?

    Image

    Bilberries!

    Now, I didn't take any photos of the actual jam-making but you want about half as much sugar as berries. Put both in a pot, bring to a simmer and let boil gently for about 15 minutes. My only "secret" is to not stir to avoid breaking the bilberries. Just shake the pot every now and then to mix. Add the hot jam to hot, sterilized jars and serve.

    With what?

    Well, homemade bilberry jam certainly makes one's morning oatmeal much more enjoyable:

    Image

    However, the whole reason for me loading the kids into the car and making this trip and post can be summed up in two words: Swedish Pancakes:

    Image
  • Post #2 - September 5th, 2007, 1:07 pm
    Post #2 - September 5th, 2007, 1:07 pm Post #2 - September 5th, 2007, 1:07 pm
    Funny -- I take bilberry everyday for my eyes, but have never had the fruit in any form other than in a capsule. They look lovely. Next time I'm at an import store with bilberry jam, I'll have to try it.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #3 - September 5th, 2007, 2:43 pm
    Post #3 - September 5th, 2007, 2:43 pm Post #3 - September 5th, 2007, 2:43 pm
    Thanks for the very informative post and the great photos. I'll even forgive the ketchup on the hotdog! :wink:
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #4 - September 5th, 2007, 4:23 pm
    Post #4 - September 5th, 2007, 4:23 pm Post #4 - September 5th, 2007, 4:23 pm
    When I was seventeen, I visited Ireland with some family friends, and along with dillisk (seaweed) we went on a bilberry-picking expedition on a peat bog. I envy you, Bridgestone! Thanks for the opportunity to relive that memory!
  • Post #5 - September 5th, 2007, 5:51 pm
    Post #5 - September 5th, 2007, 5:51 pm Post #5 - September 5th, 2007, 5:51 pm
    Cogito wrote:I'll even forgive the ketchup on the hotdog! :wink:

    Not me, not unless Bridgestone assures us it's for the young man in the picture, not himself.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - September 5th, 2007, 6:04 pm
    Post #6 - September 5th, 2007, 6:04 pm Post #6 - September 5th, 2007, 6:04 pm
    Every time Bridgestone starts a thread, I'm sure to learn something new.

    For example: Hot dogs in a thermos? Does this work?

    If so, brilliant. If not so much, ingenious nonetheless.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #7 - September 5th, 2007, 9:41 pm
    Post #7 - September 5th, 2007, 9:41 pm Post #7 - September 5th, 2007, 9:41 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:If so, brilliant. If not so much, ingenious nonetheless.

    Hot dogs in a thermos is equally as inovative as using a charoal chimney as a grill, very cool Mr. Bridgstone, very cool indeed.

    And, by the way, I meant to add a ;) to my ketchup admonition above. ;)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - September 5th, 2007, 11:14 pm
    Post #8 - September 5th, 2007, 11:14 pm Post #8 - September 5th, 2007, 11:14 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:Every time Bridgestone starts a thread, I'm sure to learn something new.

    For example: Hot dogs in a thermos? Does this work?

    If so, brilliant. If not so much, ingenious nonetheless.

    Get a wide mouth thermos bottle. They work very well for such items. Stews are quite nice for a road lunch in these things.
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #9 - September 6th, 2007, 12:37 am
    Post #9 - September 6th, 2007, 12:37 am Post #9 - September 6th, 2007, 12:37 am
    Thanks everyone!

    Re: hotdogs. GWiv - rest assured that the ketchup is reserved for the 6 and under crowd. I had mustard on mine. In fact, you've got a jar of the mustard I had somewhere deep within that pantry of yours!

    Hotdogs in a thermos works just fine. In a true fit of "Mr. Mom" ingenuity, I even took frozen dogs and threw them in a thermos with boiling water. One hour later we had perfect hotdogs. We'll also grill when out on our expeditions but I had too many kids by myself to feel comfortable with a grill this time.

    The hotdogs themselves are worth mentioning. They are called "Stockholmare" or "Stockholmers", have a natural skin casing with lots of snap, a nice smoked flavor and pretty good seasoning. They're not fully emulisfied so they've got a little chew and you'll run across a mustard seed or so every now or then. Very tasty!

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more