Vattlingon or “Water lingonberries”

“Vattlingon” is a very simple method for preservation of lingonberries – simply fill a jar with washed lingonberries, then poor clean water over the berries and store them  for  several months in the fridge or cellar. According to Hank Shaw of “The effect is to mellow the extreme tartness and tannins in fresh cranberries, leaving them pleasantly acidic and slightly sweet.” Naturally occuring benzoic acid in the lingonberries is a preservative that allows one to store in this manner without adding salt or other preservatives to the mix. How do you get clean water? Simply boil your tap water then allow it to cool before pouring over the berries.

How will you use the lingonberries after they have been stored? A traditional use is to serve a small dish (think shot-glass size) of vattlingon as dessert during the Christmas season. Whipped cream and sugar can be added if it is available, but is not always necessary because the water presercation has mellowed the acidity and added a slight sweetness. Another important use is to consume the liquid in the jar. Or you can get more creative and incorporate vattlingon into main courses, such as these recipes for spring salmon and grouse with rosemary and cranberries.

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