Category Archives: Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Flavonoids in Crowberry, Empetrum nigrum

This is an interesting article on the value of crowberries in the diet. Lots of people harvest this fruit although many people consider it tasteless, nothing more than a thirst quencher if you are out hiking in the woods. They are tiny, and you have your work cut out for you to harvest enough to do anything with, but they are good.

Empetrum nigrum

Black Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum L.) Flavonoids and Their Health Promoting ActivityTunde Jurikova 1, *, Jiri Mlcek 2 , Sona Skrovankova 2 , Stefan Balla 1 , Jiri Sochor 3 , Mojmir Baron 3 and Daniela Sumczynski 2 1 Institute for Teacher Training, Faculty of Central European Studies, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Drazovska 4, SK-949 74 Nitra, Slovakia; 2 Department of Food Analysis and Chemistry, Faculty of Technology, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, nam. T. G. Masaryka 5555, CZ-760 01 Zlin, Czech Republic; (J.M.); (S.S.); (D.S.) 3 Department of Viticulture and Enology, Faculty of Horticulture, Mendel University in Brno, Valticka 337, CZ-691 44 Lednice, Czech Republic; (J.S.); (M.B.)  Published: 7 December 2016

Abstract: Nowadays, much research attention is focused on underutilized berry crops due to the high antioxidant activity of fruits. Black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum L.) represents an important source of flavonols (quercetin, rutin, myricetin, naringenin, naringin, morin, and kaempferol) and anthocyanins. The fruit components could be utilised as natural colourants or as a part of functional foods and, because of the high antioxidant activity, the berries of black crowberry can be used in the treatment of diseases accompanied with inflammation, or as an effective antibacterial and antifungal remedy. Moreover, the reduction of lipid accumulation and total cholesterol as well as an improvement of postprandial hyperglycaemia have been proven. This review summarizes for the first time the main antioxidants (flavonoids) of black crowberry fruits, with a focus on their health promoting activity.

Spruce Bark Beetles and Berries

Being from the Kenai Peninsula and having first hand experience with spruce bark beetle die off in my home town of Moose Pass, it was interesting to read the effects the spruce bark beetle die off had on berry populations in the area. This article goes into depth about the effect tree coverage had on the berry stands in the area after the trees began to grow back after the spruce bark beetle die off. Each berry tested had slightly different results, but for the most part they averaged being the most productive at 50% coverage, then loosing productivity after that. BE Moose Pass, AK

Abstract: “Land managers on the Kenai Peninsula have responded to recent extensive infestations of forests by spruce beetles (Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby)) and associated increased fire risk with a variety of management approaches. To provide additional ecological information upon which to base these management prescriptions, we evaluated the response of the cover of berry species to variations in landscape factors and environmental conditions, including crown closure. Data were sufficient to describe the response of cover of bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis), black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), false toadflax (Geocaulon lividum), strawberryleaf raspberry (Rubus pedatus), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and a combination of 24 other species through multinomial logistic regression. Crown closure and forest overstory type significantly influenced the cover of all berry species. Increasing crown closure had a negative effect on all berry species except strawberryleaf raspberry. Level of infestation by spruce beetles was significantly related to the cover of all species except lingonberry. Our findings indicate that spruce forests may be managed to enhance berry cover and that choice of management technique (e.g., timber harvest, prescribed fire) will likely result in different outcomes.”

During, L.H., M.I. Goldstein, S.M. Howell and C.S. Nations. 2008. Response of the cover of berry-producing species to ecological factors on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, USA Canadian Journal of Forest Research.Vol. 38, No. 5 : pp. 1244-1259

Anthocyanin Composition and Antioxidant Activity of the Crowberry

Thirteen kinds of anthocyanins were identified in freeze dried crowberry extract. The total content was higher than nine other major berry species. It also held the highest antioxidant content.

Crowberries are suggested to help prevent chronic diseases due to their high antioxidant activity. KH Fairbanks
Kenjirou, Ogawa. Hiroyuki, Sakakibara.Rei, Iwata.Takeshi, Ishii. Tsutomu, Sato. Toshinao, Goda. Kayoko, Shimoi. And Shigenori, Kumazawa. 2008. “Anthocyanin Composition and Antioxidant Activity of the Crowberry.” Journal of Agric.Food Chem. 56 (12) pp4457-4462.

Crowberry Pie

Recipe for Crowberry Pie:

-Pastry for double-crust, 9 inch pie (unbaked)

-4 C crowberries

-2 Tbsp lemon juice

-1 C granulated sugar

-1/3 C flour

-1/8 tsp ground cloves

Line pan with pie crust. In a large mixing bowl combine crowberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and cloves; mix well and pour into unbaked pie shell.

Dampen edge of shell with water, add top crust and flute edge. Slit top of pie.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 375F and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove and cool.

Yields 6-8 servings


Endophytic microbiome in crowberry? What?

I have to admit. I had to look up what endophytic micro biome was, but it is truly fascinating. They are microbes that live inside plant tissues, in this case, the crowberry, Empetrum nigrum. The authors identified one of these microbes inside the crowberry that has antibacterial activity, specifically a Staphylococcus bacterium. They propose that the presence of this endophyte might have value in the pharmaceutical industry to fight bacterial diseases. So the crowberry itself is not antibacterial. It’s a litter microbe inside the tissues! empetrum

Bioactivity and Health Considerations

A very well done paper on the bioactivity and health considerations of many o the berries we have studied during this course. (Vaccinium ovalifolium, Vaccinium uliginosum, Rubus spectabilis, Rubus chamaemorus, Empetrum nigrum)  I like that they chose 3 different locations in Alaska, but I think they could have done without climate change in the title, for it was almost not even addressed.  A good read nonetheless.  Antioxidants

Crowberries in smoothies?

Crowberry Each year I while picking berries I come across tons of crowberries.  I’ve never picked more than a handful purposefully.  Sometimes they get mixed in with my blueberries.  I’ve often thought about coming back and picking them at a later time.  It looks like there would be lots of good reasons to go back.  This website based in Finland has an informative section on crowberries.  Crowberries They contain some of the same compounds as cranberries that people take for urinary tract health and heart disease.   While I don’t think I’d want to use crowberries in jams or pies on their own, their health benefits and abundance seemingly everywhere in Alaska may make them a useful addition to breakfast smoothies and yogurt.