Wilde bessen uit Finland

Wild berries from Finland

The enormous abundance of wild food in Finnish nature is truly amazing. Wild berries are found almost everywhere in the country and because of the purity of the environment you can pick them and eat them immediately. In general, eating lots of fruits and vegetables can work wonders, but there are some varieties in particular that can make a big difference, such as wild blueberries.


Where the wild berries grow

Wild berries normally grow in open forests (both in deciduous and coniferous forests), on heaths and bogs in the temperate and subarctic regions, moorland forests or in swamps where mainly pine or spruce trees grow. These forests are home to, for example, the lingonberry (lingonberry)wild blueberry, wild raspberry, usual crowberry. Swamps are a typical environment of the cloudberry, swamp blueberry, crowberry and wild cranberry (cranberry).

From arctic wild blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) grows wild in Finnish forests, has been collected and used for centuries. The cultivation of the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium, V. corymbosum) is popular in North America. Highbush blueberry is often referred to as wild blueberry.  Often consumers and industry think that the cultivated and wild blueberries are the same species - but they are quite different. Compared to the cultivated highbush blueberry, the berries of the arctic wild blueberry are smaller, 6-8 millimeters in size. Wild blueberries grow individually on the branches of a branchy shrub plant 10-40 cm high. The skin of wild blueberries is dark blue, waxy and soft and breaks quite easily. The inside of the wild blueberry is also dark blue.


The characteristic color of the wild blueberry

Due to high anthocyanin content is the flesh fruity and dark blue or purple.  The anthocyanin levels of arctic wild blueberries are high compared to other berries. It contains anthocyanins at a level 3-5 higher than that in highbush blueberry. Anthocyanins are bioactive substances that give the Finnish blueberry its characteristic dark blue or purple color inside and out. The difference in the color of the flesh between the bilberry and blueberry is visible, because the flesh of highbush blueberry is white.


Wild berries galore

The bright northern summer ripens a lush harvest of berries every year in the forests and swamps, which can benefit anyone who spends time in nature. Even a relatively poor crop will yield about 100 kg, or 20 buckets, of wild berries per person in Finland. About 50 species of wild berries grow in Finland, of which 37 are edible. Of these, about 20 varieties are suitable for picking and consumption. The best known and most commercially valuable berries are cranberries, crowberries, blueberries, cloudberries, raspberries, cranberries and sea buckthorn.

The annual harvest of blueberries is estimated to be over 500 million kg, while the amount picked is only about 3-10% of the entire crop in the case of lingonberries and blueberries, for example. An average of eight kilos of wild berries per person is consumed per year in Finland. The wild berries provide exceptional health benefits. The share of berries in our diet should therefore be increased, because berries are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and polyphenols to be. Polyphenols are vegetable antioxidants that, like carotenoids and phytosterols, fall under the so-called bioactive substances.


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