Category Archives: Lingonberry, Lowbush cranberry, (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

Simultaneous determination of flavonols and phenolic acids by HPLCCoulArray in berries common in the Nordic diet

Ensieh Hajazimi (a), Rikard Landberg( a, b), Galia Zamaratskaia (a), Food Science and Technology 74 (2016) 128e134

(a) Department of Food Science, Uppsala BioCenter, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden  (b) Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Insitutet, Stockholm, Sweden

This paper is a methods study testing a new method of detecting antioxidants in wild berries. Although the method information is interesting, of importance to us berry people is the verification that northern berries are endowed with very high levels of antioxidants, in this case flavonols and phenolic compounds even when the berries were  commercially store bought and frozen. Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)  topped the charts of highest flavonols, hydrobenzoic and hydrocinnamic acid compounds with lingonberry (Vaccinium vitas-idaea) and bilberry (V. myrtillus) not far behind. The cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus)  had less than half total phenolics of the other berries.  The phenolic compound found in greatest concentration in sea buckthorn was Isorhamnetin; in lingonberry,  quercetin; in bilberry – myricetin; and finally in cloudberry – gallic acid.

berry phenolocs


Wouldn’t it be great if these berries were available frozen in Alaska stores? For now, enjoy berry picking or purchasing fruit at your local farmers market in summer. The health benefits can be great (although you have to eat twice as many cloudberries as the other fruit)!

Fruit Teas in Poland

Ingredients of popular fruit teas in Poland

Artur Adamczak, Anna Forycka, Tomasz M. Karpiński

Department of Botany, Breeding and Agricultural Technology of Medicinal Plants, Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants, Kolejowa 2, 62-064 Plewiska, Poland(Adamczak and Forycka)) and Department of Genetics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Święcickiego 4, 60-781 Poznań, Poland (Karpiński)

The attached article from Poland shows the incredible diversity of fruit teas in Polish markets. Leaves, fruit, flowers, stems, petals, peels, roots, and juice concentrates  are used in a variety of teas that are popular because of their flavor, aroma and health benefits especially antioxidant content. The most popular fruit teas were raspberry, cranberry and rose hip, but the final tea sometimes contained more than 20 ingredients. Especially common in fruit teas were hibiscus flowers and apple. Apple and rose hip are often the top ingredients because they are cheap and easy to obtain from commercial sources. Even teas labeled raspberry could have hibiscus as the main ingredient. It certainly pays to do your homework and purchase from reputable sources because quality variation is huge. The list of ingredients is diverse and interesting!


Plant Cells as Food

Occasionally I read a journal article and my first response is “Really?” “Why in the world would somebody do that?” This is one such article. These researchers took cloudberry, lingonberry and stone berry (a type of raspberry) tissues and put them into test tubes. This process called tissue or cell culture takes living tissues, puts them into a test tube, adds a cocktail of nutrients and hormones so that the cells divide, and the result is a mass of actively dividing cells that will grow into large blobs of cells. As long as the nutrients and hormone levels are maintained, the cells will divide and divide.

Many years ago, when I was a grad student in Minnesota, other students were working on these cell cultures to see if the mass of cells in the test tubes could be used to harvest large quantities of useful chemicals, pharmaceuticals, bio pesticides and more. Rather than growing the whole plant such as the chrysanthemum-type flower that is the source of the pesticide pyrethrum, you could farm the cells and harvest the pyrethrum from the masses of cells.

Well this study takes cell farming to a new level. You are making masses of cells in a test tube so you can eat them! Rather than enjoying the trek into the woods, filling your bucket full of luscious berries, taking them home, filling your kitchen with the incredible aroma of lingonberry syrup, and then enjoying the fruits of your labor on a pile of pancakes, you will scoop out a mass of pinkish cells from a test tube, and eat them –– not sure how you prepare them. The fresh cells have a “sandy, grainy” texture. Yum!

The research was completed because of the claim that we will be running out of food on this planet because of increased population growth. Using current technology of farming, we will not have enough to feed the world. The solution is cell farming!

My opinion? I’d rather eat sawdust!

Plant cells as food – A concept taking shape (Berry cultures)

Emilia Nordlund, Martina Lille, Pia Silventoinen, Heli Nygren, Tuulikki Seppänen-Laakso, Atte Mikkelson, Anna-Marja Aura, Raija-Liisa Heiniö, Liisa Nohynek, Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä, Heiko Rischer, Food Research International Volume 107, May 2018, Pages 297–305


Plant cell cultures from cloudberry, lingonberry and stoneberry were studied in terms of their nutritional properties as food. Carbohydrate, lipid and protein composition, in vitro protein digestibility and sensory properties were investigated. Dietary fibre content varied between 21.2 and 36.7%, starch content between 0.3 and 1.3% and free sugar content between 17.6 and 33.6%. Glucose and fructose were the most abundant sugars. High protein contents between 13.7 and 18.9% were recorded and all samples had a balanced amino acid profile. In vitro protein digestion assay showed hydrolysis by digestive enzymes in fresh cells but only limited hydrolysis in freeze-dried samples. The lipid analysis indicated that the berry cells were rich sources of essential, polyunsaturated fatty acids. In sensory evaluation, all fresh berry cells showed fresh odour and flavour. Fresh cell cultures displayed a rather sandy, coarse mouthfeel, whereas freeze-dried cells melted quickly in the mouth. All in all the potential of plant cells as food was confirmed.

Ethnobotany of the Naukan speakers, Chukotka District, Russian Far East and Western Alaska


The attached link is an article written by Kevin Jernigan, Olga S. BelichenkoValeria B. Kolosova and Darlene J. Orr that compares uses of plants including berries from the past through elder recollections compared to present uses.  They also compared usage with communities in Nome and Kotzebue. Edible plant use has dropped overall from previous years (13%) but the awareness of medicinal uses has skyrocketed (+225%) no doubt because of the interest in antioxidants and other bioactive components. I completed a similar project in the mid 1990s in Ft. Yukon, Alaska and found about a 20% drop in native plant uses, but my project was before all the interest in antioxidants. 

Some of the plants whose use had actually increased include: wild chives (Allium schoenoprasum), tilsey sage (Artemisia tilesii), crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), river beauty (Epilobium (Camerion) latifolium, mountain sorrel (Oxyria digyna), sour dock, (Rumex arcticus), and cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus). The plant locally called stinkweed or tilsey sage is interesting because I found it mentioned in nearly every ethnobotanical reference written in Alaska. It has extensive medicinal uses throughout the state and now the Russian Far East. All the berries mentioned are also the most popular berries harvested in northern Alaska. The berry with the greatest increase in uses from the past is mesutaq better known as masru, lingonberry or low bush cranberry. No surprise there!


Healthy Northern Berries Improve Glucose Utilization

This study from Norway centered around glucose control in the liver. The researchers studied the pathways of glucose uptake and described the enzymes used in the final steps of carbohydrate digestion as alpha-amylase and alpha glucosidase. Any chemical that inhibits these enzymes will slow glucose uptake in the liver and be a benefit to anyone dealing with type 2 diabetes. They studies a lot of berries (bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), black currants (Ribes nigrum),  bog whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitas-idaea), raspberry (Rubus idaeus), red currant (Ribes rubric), rowan berries (mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia), and sea buckthorn (Hippophae (Elaeagnus) rhamnoides). The phenolic compounds in all the berries inhibited response the enzymes that promote glucose uptake. Some berries had other chemicals that actually promoted glucose uptake: mountain ash and bilberry being the highest. The berries with the most powerful inhibitors were crowberry, cloudberry, bog whortleberry (bog blueberry), and lingonberry with crowberry being ranked number 1!


Taste testing Finnish Honey

This is an interesting research paper from the University of Turku, Finland, the Finnish Beekeepers Association and the Tallin University, Estonia. The researchers conducted sensory taste testing and completed chemical profiles of several Finnish honeys (buckwheat, cloudberry, lingonberry, white sweet clover, willow herb (fireweed) and mixed flower honeys (composed of flowering mustards, clover and raspberry, and a member of the genus, Vaccinium). They found a total of 73 compounds that contribute to the aroma of the honeys. They also tested flavor, smell, color and texture with a panel of 62 people. Buckwheat honey was described as malty with a cheese- and fecal-like and cow- and barn-like aroma. Some called it “earthy”! They found that cloudberry honey had the highest level of aromatic compounds of those tested. It was described as pungent, solvent-like, herbal and citrus-like. Lingonberry honey was described as pleasant and sweet with notes of vanilla and caramel. The others were rated well because they were most familiar to the panelists and their pleasant aromas. The honey samples that rated poorly because of strong, unfamiliar odor, flavor and aftertaste as well as dark color were buckwheat and cloudberry! Both were strongly negative in consumer appeal.

I have eaten buckwheat honey, and it is as strong and “earthy” as described, more like a molasses rather than honey, but still good especially for baking. To lump cloudberry in the category is amazing! I have never seen a beekeeper sell cloudberry honey – not enough flowers in one location, I suspect, but it doesn’t sound like anything I would invest in! Lingonberries and fireweed – yes!

Kortesniemi, M., Rosenvald, S., Laaksonen, O., Vanag, A., Ollikka, T., Vene, K., Yang, B., Sensory and chemical profiles of Finnish honeys of different botanical origins and consumer preferences, Food Chemistry (2017), doi: Honey article


More anti microbial activity in lingonberries

This study explored the antimicrobial activity of the antioxidant phenolic compounds in lingonberry juice and two other fruits in spoiled fruit juice. They studied Asaia lannensis and  Asaia bogorensis, two well known bacteria that are a significant contributor to the degradation of non-alcoholic fruit juices. These bacteria create biofilms  that cause turbidity and adhesion of the juice on surfaces holding the juice. These biofilms, in turn, can cause illness in susceptible individuals. The bacteria are also becoming resistant to a lot of the chemical preservatives used now in juices. The authors found that lingonberry juice added to the product shows a 67% reduction in adhesions from the bacteria. We all knew lingonberries were great. The evidence keeps mounting!

Wild Fruits as Antiadhesive Agents Against the Beverage-Spoiling Bacteria Asaia spp.

Hubert Antolak,  Agata Czyzowska  , Marijana Saka , Aleksandra Mišan , Olivera  uragi´c and Dorotea Kregiel Institute of Fermentation Technology and Microbiology, Lodz University of Technology, Wolczanska 171/173, 90-924 Lodz, Poland; (A.C.); and Institute of Food Technology Novi Sad, Bulevar cara Lazara 1, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia;

Abstract: The aim of the study was to evaluate antioxidant activity and total phenolic content of juice from three different types of fruits: elderberry (Sambucus nigra), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and cornelian cherry (Cornus mas), and their action against adhesion of bacterial strains of Asaia lannensis and Asaia bogorensis isolated from spoiled soft drinks. The antioxidant profiles were determined by total antioxidant capacity (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, DPPH), and ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP). Additionally, total polyphenol content (TPC) was investigated. Chemical compositions of juices were tested using the chromatographic techniques: high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Adhesion properties of Asaia spp. cells to various abiotic materials were evaluated by luminometry, plate count and fluorescence microscopy. Antioxidant activity of fruit juices expressed as inhibitory concentration (IC50) ranged from 0.042 0.001 (cornelian cherry) to 0.021 0.001 g/mL (elderberry). TPC ranged from 8.02 0.027 (elderberry) to 2.33 0.013 mg/mL (cornelian cherry). Cyanidin-3-sambubioside-5-glucoside, cyanidin-3-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-sambubioside were detected as the major anthocyanins and caffeic, cinnamic, gallic, protocatechuic, and p-coumaric acids as the major phenolic acids. A significant linear correlation was noted between TPC and antioxidant capacity. In the presence of fruit juices a significant decrease of bacterial adhesion from 74% (elderberry) to 67% (lingonberry) was observed. The high phenolic content indicated that these content indicated that these compounds may contribute to the reduction of Asaia  spp. adhesion.

2017 VVI

Documenting Change in Nunavut

Here is a thesis that explores climate change through berries near Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. The program is part citizen science as well as documenting the ethnobotany of the region. It includes great summaries of the most important berries and even some recipes!


Antimicrobial Activity in Lingonberry

This study from Romania/Hungary showed that lingonberries have a high anti-microbial activity especially relating to Pseudomonas species. The authors found that where you harvest makes a big difference in this anti-microbial activity. When selecting for high activity, the location needs to be considered. It is not known just what in the environment is influencing the activity, but it can be highly variable.

2017 Laslo

Keeping busy until spring

The idea of a plant being able to conduct photosynthesis during freezing temperatures was a novel idea to me. The researchers in this article wanted to see how lingonberries were able to recover to a photosynthetic state during periods of mild temperature during winter months. They tested temperature, photoperiod, and preceding frost for effects on the lingonberry, and what they discovered surprised me. Extreme cold slowed down the recovery, however the berries were able to come back and maintain photosynthesis even at freezing temperatures. These berries amaze me! The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. Check out their findings in the article listed below. CM Fairbanks
Saarinen, T., R. Lundell, and H. Hänninen. 2011. Recovery of photosynthetic capacity in Vaccinium vitis-idaea during mild spells in winter. Plant Ecol 212:1429-1440

Sauce for Turkey Day

Speaking of ways to use lingonberries without an overwhelming amount of sugar, I tried Kathy Gunst’s recipe, “Cranberry Sauce with Orange, Ginger, Pineapple and Pecans” last year for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t too far away, but maybe I’ll make it even sooner just for the heck of it and because it’s so darn good.Kathy Gunst’s recipe combines ginger (fresh and crystalized), maple syrup, pineapple, pecans; orange juice, rind, and zest, and of course cranberries.. She suggests using it on turkey, but if you want to make it more than a once a year condiment, she suggests trying it with a cheese platter or with sweet potatoes as well.

You can find it here: Recipe

And next maybe I’ll try finding a good cranberry chutney recipe.

Gunst, K. 2011. From Notes from a Maine kitchen.  Down East Books.

Preserving my berry treasure

Wild berry patches are an ever changing resource. Berries rely on a certain set of requirements; if any or all of those change, the berries can disappear and one year you may return to find your once lush patch gone for good. This at least has been my experience in a few of the wild berry patches that I have relied upon over the years. The past year I and some friends were very blessed to fine a lovely patch of Lingonberries in an area we had never searched. The reason we had never found this particular spot was because the berries used to be more prolific nearer our homes and my first rule of berry picking is; if a patch is near pick there. Why spend precious moments that could be spent picking berries wandering thither and yon over rough terrain looking for berries, unless you have to. Well we had to and much to our delight our search was rewarded. The area was not terribly far and had a nice hunting trail already established. We found many large clusters of berries near the trail and my friends decided to stay in this area to pick.
I have always been a wanderer; I usually have a gun with me in case I find something furry and large feeling territorial about the forest. True to my nature I walked some good ways beyond the trail; stopping every now and again to pick some berries and eat some berries. The going was rough with lots of fallen timbers around, but not impassible so I continued on. Finally, my efforts were rewarded. The patch that I found was in fact a series of patches all linked together in a large piece of woodland. The forest was a mix of perhaps 50/50 small spruce, medium sized aspens and a few large birch here and there. The forest floor was covered with lingonberry bushes, crowberry, and a few bearberry bushes all growing happily in the dappled pools of sunlight coming through the leafy canopy. The lingonberries were by far the most prolific; the plants were large and spread out under fallen logs and around old stumps. The area was edged by a few clearings and a long low trench running through much of the patch, perhaps from an old creek bed. The berries grew in thick clusters on the edges of this trench and along its lowest part. As I walked deeper into the forest I found fewer healthy patches; the trees were too thick and ground cover consisted mostly of mosses and lichens. In the more open spaces the berries were beautiful, large, and juicy, tart but also sweet; dark red on the outside and very white inside. Perfect specimens, and it did not take me long to fill my gallon.
This lovely patch has remained in my mind and seems a perfect candidate for wild stand management. I love the idea of having a place that I could care for if even just a little and perhaps improve the patch so that every year me and my friends can return to find it producing in abundance. The berries are already growing so well that I would not need to do much I think. Here are just a few ideas I have to improve the patch and perhaps next spring and summer I can implement some of them. First the spot is not easy to find and the going is pretty rough; I have found another way to get into the beginning of the patch from a different direction. This approach is much more open and I will mark it for further use. I know that lingonberries like sunny spots to ripen in but don’t handle hot weather very well; they need areas that also can shelter them during the cold winter months ( They prefer acidic soils which is fine, because where I live the soil throughout the whole area is very acidic; I struggle with acidic soils in my vegetable garden and it has been cultivated every year for about 30 years and is still acidic. The spot where the berries are growing must be acidic and the nutrients must be at a good ratio because the berries are very healthy looking. Cross pollination must also be taking place because the berries, throughout the patch, are all very large compared to what I am used to seeing from other patches. The shade does help to keep the moss around the berries moist; this not only helps the berries grow but also provides pollinators another reason to visit the patch. To improve the sunlight into the patch I will have to be very careful how many trees and how much brush I remove to prevent the patch from drying out; this would have a detrimental effect on the overall microsystem surrounding the berries.
I will need to chart when the berries bloom, what pollinators visit and how often. At this point the lingonberries far outgrow any other weeds in the area so I don’t think that I will add any fertilizer as this may encourage weeds to grow. The berry plants look very big to me and any more fertilizer might encourage more vegetative growth that they clearly don’t need ( I will take my brush cutter into the stand next spring and remove a lot of the under growth such as small spruce trees, broken off limbs, and remove much of the Labrador tea stands to let more sunlight get to the berries and remove competition. After finding out how many pollinators come to the spot I have some ideas to attract more. I am not sure if it would work but I would like to plant or transplant a few more wild flowering plants to the spot such as bluebells, bunch berry, and others from farther away spots. There are already other flowering shrubs such as bearberry and crowberry and I would not remove all the Labrador tea as it also has nice flower for part of the year. The spot is also full of grouse which I am sure are attracted to the many berries; thankfully there are plenty to go around and the birds are also a very nice resource for fresh meat should I need some this winter. I think the primary pollinators are bumblebees; the spot is full of old trees and fallen rotting logs which would provide good nesting sources for them.
Hopefully I will have time next spring and summer to visit my patch and implement some of these improvements. The berries are happy so I will be very careful how I proceed and plan each action taking many things into consideration. Also if anyone, with experience in managing wild lingonberry stands, would like of offer me some advice I would greatly appreciate it. AB Delta Junction, AK
 Bailey, R. 2016. Grow your own lingonberries. Available online: Lingonberries Accessed Oct. 2, 2016
The National Gardening Association. 2016. The mighty lingonberry. Available online: 
Lingonberries Accessed Oct. 2,
Alaska Channel. 2016. Low bush cranberry. Available online: Low bush cranberry. 
Accessed Oct. 2, 2016
Deane, G. 2016. Bunchberry Brunch. Available online: Bunchberry. Accessed Oct. 2, 2016

Mulching and lingonberries

 I’ve often been curious about mulch suitability for a certain crop. Over a three year period, Mr. Gustavsson, investigates the effect of the application of a variety of mulches to standardized blocks of cultivated lingonberry. Annual, average fruit weight and yield as well as accumulated plant growth and fungal infection susceptibility, were factors used to compare mulch types. Not surprising, as it common in native environments, peat moss, appeared to be the most beneficial mulch for lingonberries in areas not susceptible to late spring frost. Surprisingly, however, is that black plastic foil was found to be the second most beneficial. CZ Anchorage
 Gustavsson, B. A. 1999. Effects of Mulching on Fruit Yield, Accumulated Plant Growth, and Fungal Attack in Cultivated Lingonberry, cv. Sanna, Vaccinium vitus-idaea L. Gartenbauwissenschaft, 64 (2). S: 65-69.
Available online: Lingonberries    Accessed: 29 September 2016

Fall flowering in lingonberries

Occasionally, native plants, wildflowers, berries and others, bloom in fall. I have seen it on high bush cranberries, red osier dogwood, willows. wild iris, wild roses and more. This year it is lingonberries. I have noticed a lot of flowers appearing at the same time as berry harvesting. Considering the season, this second bloom is not surprising. Spring warm temperatures came early, and in my garden, Oct 1, the temperatures reached 60F! Despite the cool, rainy summer, the lingonberry grew, bloomed, matured fruit, and went dormant. The dormancy period is very short for lingonberries- about 4 weeks of chilling temperatures (40F or lower). With the long season, it is no surprise that flower buds broke dormancy and started to bloom again. Of course, it is wasted genes. No fruit will form. This fall flowering definitely impacts next season’s flowering and fruiting.


Lingonberry differences

Differences in Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
     I recently went out and picked some lingonberries. There were two distinct patches from which I harvested two different kinds of berries. To the untrained eye, both areas had the same amount of shade and were roughly 10 meters apart. The leaves for both plants look the same and there was no noticeable difference between the plants.
The darker berries were larger than the brighter berries, and when cut open, the flesh was also a darker red. It was harder to distinguish where the seeds were located. There was also no taste difference between the berries.
My working theory is that one patch of berries does get more sun than another, this activates more of the red pigments known as anthocyanins. They may have tasted the same because it had been several days after the first frost when these berries are supposedly ripe. Another theory I developed was that the darker berries were overripe compared to the bright red ones. This idea, however, would not explain the difference in size.  CM Fairbanks

A little spice is nice

       I have a major sweet tooth and love jams and jellies of all kinds. I also love spicy things, put the two together and what do you get? The most delicious hot pepper jellies that’s what. I am blessed to have two good friends who are excellent jam and jelly makers; they both enjoy finding new and interesting recipes and trying them out just for fun. Once and a while, if a jelly does not seal properly, they generously offer it to me and because I couldn’t imagine such wonderful stuff going to waste I eagerly accept their gifts. I will literally eat it on anything my favorites include: crackers, toast, cheese, biscuits, tortillas, chips, right out of the jar; well you get the idea. Sometimes the jam is sooo spicy it is best served on a cracker with a little cream cheese topping the jelly to help cut the burn. This year because of all the beautiful berries around my friends and I made sure to pick as many as we could and a good portion of these were turned into lovely jams. Not all were spicy some were the usual sweet concoctions, but my favorites are the spicy creations which taste so good that even though your mouth is on fire you simply cannot stop eating till the tiny jar is ooops! gone. One of the following recipes uses berries and the other does not call for them, but berries could be added if desired. Here are a few of my favorite recipes if any of you wish to try them; don’t just take my word for it, make and devour these jams yourselves you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!



Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly 1c. chopped jalapenos 3c. red/green peppers 1c. apple cider vinegar 1 box pectin ½ t. butter 5 c. sugar 1c. cranberries Bring to a boil. When boiling, add sugar and butter. Bring back to a boil for 1.5 min. Process for 10 minutes. For hotter jelly add more jalapenos and fewer bell peppers.


Badass Mango Jalapeño Jam

Prep time    40 mins    Cook time      45 mins     Total time    1 hour 25 mins

This is not a breakfast jam, unless you are really badass. Use it as a glaze on fish, chicken or pork. Spread it on grilled bread and top it with prosciutto, shaved Parmesan and arugula as appetizer. Or half, seed and stuff jalapenos, wrap them in bacon, grill them and slather with Mango Jalapeño Jam. You get the idea…

Author: Adapted from Ball Blue Book

Serves: 8 half pints


  • 4-6 whole ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups of crushed mango)
  • 6 whole jalapeños, seeded and stemmed (wear latex gloves!)
  • 1-½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6-½ cups sugar
  • 1-½ package powdered pectin
  • ½ teaspoon butter (optional, it helps reduce foaming)


  1. Crush the mango with a potato masher–I just set the peeled and sliced fruit in a baking pan lined with parchment and mash away. Food process the jalapeños until fine. Add the cider vinegar and process again until smooth. In a large pot combine all ingredients except the pectin and simmer for 30 minutes while sipping a bourbon. Stir in the pectin and bring it to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat immediately. Skim foam and let cool. Carefully ladle into sterilized ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Yields about 8 half pints.

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

Blueberries and Lingonberries in Pie

Blueberry Cranberry (lingonberry) Pie, muffins, anything Mixing about half and half of blueberries and cranberry (lingonberry) pie adds a surprisingly tasty zing. It’s also a nice way to use lingonberries in a pie. If you make an all lingonberry pie, it can be a little overwhelming, but half and half is just about right for my taste. As I mentioned earlier in my post on blueberry and raspberries for breakfast, I prefer not to add sugar to my berries which is part of the reason that I have a hard time using lingonberries. Now that I know lingonberries top the charts in antioxidants, I want to try to incorporate them even more into mine and my family’s diet. Of course, extrapolate from pie, and half blueberries and half lingonberries will do in just about any baked good or jam you are making.

Holloway, P.S., R. Dinstel and R. Leiner. 2006. Antioxidants in Alaska Wild berries. Georgeson Botanical Notes No. 35. Available Online: Berries and Antioxidants

The Search for Lingonberries

After a solid afternoon of studying, my younger sister and I headed out for a walk around the neighborhood. Because we live next to a powerline cut, I thought that was a good place to go look at various plants and vegetation. We came across multiple stands of lingonberries. I didn’t know that we had so many close to our house. My sister enjoyed eating them after I explained what they were. She is a berry eating machine! I personally don’t care for raw lingonberries, but she was all over them. There are plenty more to go out and pick. We had fun counting all the buds that will hopefully turn into berries for next year. It made for a fun afternoon. CM Fairbanks

A Forestry Experiment

Cranberries lost and found. When I was younger the area where I grew up used to be full of spots to pick lowbush cranberries (lingonberries). My family and I did not even have to go far. We could just ride our bikes down some local back roads and the berries would be growing all around; next to the roads and along the edges of the woods. There were some very nice spots deeper into the woods where the poplar and quaking aspen trees grew. The woods were not dense and the forest floor had many sunny and shady spots; the berries grew in abundance. But all this abruptly changed about four years ago on the evening of Sept. 15th 2012, an immense wind storm began to blow. The storm lasted for a few days after but the night of the 15th was of a certainty the worse any of us had ever seen. The winds were so strong that some of the blasts were rated as being hurricane force though no rain accompanied them. When it was all said and done nearly 500 acres of trees in the surrounding forests and valleys had been blown over. Because of the shallowness of their root systems when trees fell their wide root systems pulled great hunks of the forest floor with them. Many of our usually berry patches were literally ripped up by their roots and still many more were buried by fallen trees and branches. Our trails became essentially impassible, and the aspect of the forest changed so much that once familiar landscapes had become a shocking picture of nature’s destructive force.
This event attracted the notice of the local forestry division and they began to look more closely at our area. One forester in particular had a burden to make our area a safer residential zone; he felt that the thickness of the forests near our roads and near our houses was an extreme fire danger. In the summer of 2014 forestry sent a large crew to our area and they began to clear the trees near all the roads. We thought that this would be a relatively small project. A continuation of the cleanup projects that they had been helping us and the others in the area with because of the Great Storm. Time past and the tree lines along the roads moved back from 10ft to 20ft and more; then forestry decided more clearings deeper into the forests needed to be created as LZs for supplies and crews if a fire did occur. They did much cutting with chainsaws which was not very damaging, but this took too long so they brought a great drum with metal ribs on its outsides and filled with water. This giant cylinder was pulled behind a big piece of equipment and reduced acres of forest to great openings filled with ripped up vegetation and crushed timbers. Needless to say any and all berries in these areas have been completely eradicated. I and others in the valley have found other patches deeper into the forests and so all is not lost, but I do wish that in their quest to make us all safer forestry had not been so completely successful in removing all burnable substances for miles around. This project is still ongoing even this summer a crew was working behind our homes deeper into the forest cutting more and burning great piles of brush.
I understand the need for safety but I do hope that one day the berry patches will come back. A few of the men in our neighborhood, who own and run a logging and milling business, say that given time the torn landscapes most likely will grow up into deciduous forests. They hope that the increased sunlight and nutrients will begin to bring long dormant seeds to life. I see this being a good thing as in the past the best patches I found were under the canopies of deciduous trees. I have put in a few interesting links about lingonberries and the likely hood of whether the old patches I used to know will ever return. I have looked for info on the particular method of tree removal that I mentioned, but apparently it was an experiment forestry was trying. Their hope was that the deciduous trees would come back and are keeping an eye in this area to see how fast the forest takes to regrow including the underlying groundcover such as berry bushes. Because it is a new method I could not find much info about it I guess only time will tell. I will continue to watch the patches of cleared land to see how fast.the vegetation takes to come back. The following links are simply interesting research articles on Lingonberries and Alaskan berries that are important to Alaskan communities in general. AB Delta Junction
By Richard G. St Pierre, Ph.D. 2016
Accessed Sept. 19,
By Various researchers: Michael Brubaker, Jerry Hupp, Kira Wilkinson, Jennifer Williamson.
Accessed Sept. 20, 2016