|Lingonberry or Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)|
But that isn't the only favourite usage. It is often traditionally served on the side with Meat Balls and Potato mash which is also called in Swedish "Köttbullar" ( this is pronouced = 'Shirt-Bullar' & translation = Meat Balls). It is not only a favourite of kids when going out to eat, but from what I've observed, it's also prized by those older generation folks and blue collar workers. Go figure! This past summer I worked for two months at Slottskogen which is a Park in Gothenburg at a rather upscale sophisticated Cafe & Coffee Bar called Björngårdsvillan Cafe and this Food Dish was number one on the menu for kids and older folks. The place is under a new management this year 2012. I kept having the mistaken tendency to pronounce Köttbullar as Sh!tbullar - oops! Okay Okay back to Lingonberries. The plant itself in the wild when it is in fruit, looks very much like an impossible cross breeding of the low spreading Manzanita "Uva-Ursi" plant in California and the low growing miniature variety of California Coffeeberry called "Little Sur". Look at the photo below and see if you California native folks don't agree as to it's familiar appearance.
|Credit Lee Reich - Audubon Archive|
|Credit: Privick Mill Nursery|
|Photo Courtesy of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.|
September is harvest-time for cranberry growers, who collect the red fruit using special toothed scoops or by flooding the bogs and agitating the plants. Today’s cranberry bogs can yield as many as 15,000 pounds of fruit that can be crushed and canned or eaten fresh. Cranberries grow wild in the Northeast, and as far south as Virginia. America and Canada produce 96 percent of the world’s cranberries, using them in tarts, sauces, preserves, juices, and more.
Cranberry Bog being "Wet Harvested"
Cranberry Bog being "Dry Harvested"
|Photo by Jack Greenlee|
Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) occurs in peat bogs like the Fall River Patterned Fen on the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota, USA. Incredibly, this State is the immigrant home of countless Swedes who immigrated almost a century or more ago as a result of a severe famine where one million out of four left Sweden for this State. Not only do they have the almost identical Boreal Forests, but also loaded with Moose, Lakes, Ponds, Bogs and Fens and lots of mosquitos just like Sweden. Now why wouldn't a Swede call this State his or her
Nya Hemland ? Now you know the reason for the name - Minnesota Vikings!
There are a number of excellent references to Cranberries and Lingonberries. The USDA Blog had some excellent articles earlier this week on a different smaller variety of Cranberry grown in Minnesota. The reference to the read is below.
USDA - Cranberry Fact Sheets
Cranberries, Nature’s Garnets, are Ripening Across the Country
Oregon State Agricultural Extension: Lingonberry Production Guide for the Paciﬁc Northwest
Washington State University: What Are Lingonberries ?