Known in Finnish as lakka or hilla, the cloudberry is a perennial berry that grows in swamplands and bogs. The plant is about 10–25 cm tall, has two leafs, a woody rhizomatous stem and grows a single flower. The leaves are wrinkled and kidney-shaped and its flower has five white petals...and of course also bears the distinct fruit by which its name comes from. While typically golden reddish-orange, the berry changes color a number times while growing, starting off as a soft greenish-yellow before it ripens. Once ripe, the berry can be easily picked and consumed.
Where do cloudberries grow?
Cloudberries grow in all parts of Finland, but are most abundant in the north, especially Lapland. They mostly grow in natural bogs and swamps and the undrained wetlands of Northern Finland produce the largest crop each year. They can also be found in similar natural environments in both Sweden and Norway as well.
When can you pick cloudberries?
Cloudberries are generally picked in the middle of July in southern Finland, and in northern Finland in early August, although this can vary from year to year. Picking is affected by the early blossoming of the plant, particularly in Lapland where overnight frost can freeze the flowers. The crop can also be affected by the cloudberry beetle, which feeds on the leaves of the plants before berries are ripe.
How nutritious are cloudberries?
Cloudberries are an immensely rich source of vitamin C, with 75 grams of the berries fulling one’s daily requirement. They also contain vitamin E in larger quantities than many fruits and grains, and its oil is particularly rich in vitamin E. Of all wild berries, they also contain the most fibre.
What are cloudberries used for?
Cloudberries are best when picked fresh and not processed. People use them to make jams, juices, berry soups, and desserts. The golden berry is sometimes used as a garnish for different local dishes. Cloudberries can also be preserved frozen or juiced, or cooked to create jam. Like the lingonberry, it also contains benzoic acid, allowing the berries to be preserved while crushed in their own juice and stored in a temperate place.
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