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Wild Berries, Berry Species & Berry Supplements

It’s a well-known fact that the forests and bogs of Northern Europe offer a bountiful array of wild berries rich in nutrients. From lingonberries to bilberries, these natural jewels provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. In Scandinavia alone, over 50 varieties of wild berries grow, with approximately 20 being suitable for consumption. Including these berries in our diet not only adds flavor and color but also boosts our intake of crucial nutrients. In this blog post, we explore into the world of wild berries, their varieties, and the benefits of incorporating them into our daily routine.

Wild Berry Varieties

Common Edible Berries

Clearly, the forests of Scandinavia are rich with a diverse array of wild berries, with approximately 50 varieties growing in the region, of which 37 are edible. Among these, some of the best known and commercially valuable berries include lingonberries, bilberries, cloudberries, raspberries, cranberries, and sea buckthorn. These berries thrive in different environments, with lingonberries, bilberries, raspberries, common crowberries, and cranberries found in forests, while cloudberries, bog bilberries, and crowberries are more commonly found in bogs.

Berry Picking and Consumption Statistics

An annual crop of forest berries in Scandinavia is estimated to be over 500 million kg, yet the amount picked only constitutes about 3–10% of the total crop of certain berries like lingonberries and bilberries. On average, a person in Finland consumes about eight kilograms of wild berries per year, highlighting the importance of these nutrient-rich fruits in the Scandinavia diet. With a wide variety of berries available, from antioxidant-rich lingonberries to fiber-packed cloudberry, wild berries offer a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols that can benefit health and well-being.

This data underscores the significance of wild berries in Scandinavia cuisine and the potential health benefits of incorporating these nutrient-dense fruits into one’s diet. With their high levels of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, wild berries provide a flavorful and healthy addition to meals, whether enjoyed fresh, frozen, or preserved in jams and juices throughout the year.

Nutritional Profile of Wild Berries

Vitamins and Minerals

You may be surprised to learn that wild berries are packed with imperative vitamins and minerals. Sea buckthorn and cloudberry, for example, are rich in vitamin C, while bilberries and lingonberries contain a variety of polyphenol compounds. These berries also offer a good source of vitamin E, with cloudberry and sea buckthorn standing out due to their high amounts of seed oil. In terms of minerals and trace elements, wild berries like cranberries and lingonberries provide potassium, calcium, iron, and other imperative nutrients.

Macro and Micronutrient Breakdown

An examination of the macro and micronutrient breakdown of wild berries reveals their remarkable nutritional profile. Berries are low in calories, with a high water content, making them a light and refreshing snack option. They are also rich in dietary fiber, with varieties like cloudberry and sea buckthorn serving as excellent sources. Additionally, wild berries contain natural sugars, imperative fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fats, contributing to their overall health benefits.

Wild berries are truly a nutritional powerhouse, providing a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and imperative compounds that support overall well-being. Including these nutrient-rich fruits in your diet can help boost your intake of key nutrients while indulging in delicious and natural flavors. Whether enjoyed fresh, frozen, or incorporated into various dishes, wild berries are a tasty and beneficial addition to a healthy diet.

Health Benefits of Berry Consumption

Anthocyanins and Polyphenols

The consumption of berries is highly beneficial for health due to their rich content of anthocyanins and polyphenols. These bioactive compounds are responsible for the vibrant colors of berries and provide numerous health benefits. Berries such as bilberries and cranberries contain high levels of anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that help protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation. Polyphenols found in berries play a crucial role in improving overall health and well-being by providing various protective effects.

Berry Cultivation vs. Wild Berries

Distinct Features of Cultivated and Wild Berries

To fully understand the differences between cultivated and wild berries, it is necessary to recognize the distinct features of each. Cultivated berries, such as the highbush blueberry, are typically larger in size compared to wild berries like the bilberry. They are often bred for size, sweetness, and uniformity, making them more appealing to the consumer but potentially sacrificing some of the nutritional benefits found in their wild counterparts.

Highbush Blueberry Compared to Bilberry

Blueberry Comparison
Highbush Blueberry (Cultivated) Bilberry (Wild)
Larger in size, typically 10-12 millimeters Smaller in size, approximately 6-8 millimeters
Commonly grown for commercial purposes Mostly found in wild forest environments

When comparing the highbush blueberry to the bilberry, it becomes evident that their differences extend beyond just size. While the highbush blueberry is commonly cultivated for commercial purposes and is larger in size, the bilberry grows in the wild, offering a unique nutritional profile due to its natural environment and characteristics.


With Comparison
Highbush Blueberry (Cultivated) Bilberry (Wild)
Higher sugar content due to breeding for sweetness Rich in anthocyanins, vitamins, and antioxidants
Less intense flavor compared to wild berries Intensely flavorful with a deep blue color

Preservation and Preparation of Berries

Methods of Preserving Berries for Year-Round Use

Your freshly picked wild berries can be preserved for year-round enjoyment through various methods. Any surplus berries can be frozen for later use, simply wash and dry the berries before laying them out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer them to a resealable bag for convenient storage. Berries can also be preserved by making jams or juices, ensuring you have a taste of summer even in the winter months.

Incorporating Berries into Daily Meals

Preserving the valuable nutrients in your wild berries is vital for maintaining a healthy diet. For instance, you can add a handful of your favorite berries to your breakfast smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt, or salads for a burst of flavor and health benefits. Berries can also be used in baking, from muffins to pies, enhancing both taste and nutritional value in your meals.

Berries as a Sustainable Food Source

Environmental Advantages of Foraging

All wild berries offer numerous environmental advantages when it comes to foraging. Foraging for wild berries promotes sustainability by utilizing natural resources that are abundant in the forests and bogs. By gathering wild berries directly from nature, we reduce the need for industrial farming practices that may harm the environment. This aligns with the concept of sustainable food systems, where we can enjoy the nutritional benefits of wild berries while minimizing our ecological footprint.

Future of Wild Berry Harvesting

Foraging for wild berries presents a promising future for sustainable food sourcing. As the demand for nutrient-rich foods grows, wild berries provide a natural and healthy option that can be gathered for free. With proper awareness and management of wild berry habitats, we can ensure a continuous supply of these valuable resources for future generations. By incorporating wild berries into our diets and supporting sustainable foraging practices, we contribute to a healthier lifestyle and a more environmentally friendly food system.

It is crucial to recognize the significance of wild berry harvesting in preserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable food practices. With approximately 50 varieties of wild berries in Scandinavia alone, there is a rich array of nutrient-dense options available for consumption. By valuing and protecting natural habitats where wild berries thrive, we can continue to benefit from these nutritious and environmentally friendly food sources

Berries in Industry and Supplements

Commercial Use of Wild Berries

Now, let’s explore the commercial use of wild berries. With the abundance of wild berries available in Scandinavian forests, it’s no surprise that the berries are also extensively used in various industries. The best known and commercially most valuable berries such as lingonberries, crowberries, bilberries, cloudberries, raspberries, cranberries, and sea buckthorn are not only popular in the food industry but also in the production of cosmetics, natural dyes, and even pharmaceuticals.

Berry-Based Supplements and Extracts

Extracts of wild berries are increasingly being used in the production of supplements and extracts. It is known that berries are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and polyphenols. Therefore, many companies are utilizing these beneficial compounds by creating supplements and extracts that can be easily consumed to enhance overall health and well-being. These supplements often contain concentrated forms of the bioactive compounds found in berries, making it easier for individuals to incorporate the benefits of berries into their daily routine.

It is important to note that the high levels of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols found in wild berries make them a valuable ingredient in various supplements and extracts. By harnessing the natural goodness of wild berries, these products offer individuals a convenient way to boost their intake of imperative nutrients and antioxidants.

To wrap up

On the whole, wild berries are a treasure trove of nutrients, offering a wide array of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and polyphenols that are beneficial for our health. From the forests of Finland to the bogs of Scandinavia, these berries provide a rich source of important compounds that can support overall well-being. Whether enjoyed fresh, frozen, dried, or in the form of supplements, incorporating wild berries into your diet can offer a myriad of health benefits. With their high anthocyanin content, dietary fibre, and vitamin-rich profiles, wild berries are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.

As we examine into the diverse world of wild berries, it becomes evident that each variety offers unique health-promoting properties. From the antioxidant-rich bilberries to the fibre-packed sea buckthorn berries, there is a wide selection to choose from. By increasing our consumption of these nutrient-rich berries, we can harness the power of nature to support our health and well-being. So, whether you’re foraging in the forest or picking up a jar of berry jam at the store, remember the abundant benefits that wild berries can provide for your body and mind.


Q: What types of wild berries grow in Scandinavia?

A: Approximately 50 varieties of wild berries grow in Scandinavia, with 37 being edible. The best known and commercially valuable berries include lingonberries, crowberries, bilberries, cloudberries, raspberries, cranberries, and sea buckthorn.

Q: What are some common environments where wild berries can be found?

A: Wild berries typically grow in xeric, sub-xeric, or mesic heath forests, as well as in barren bogs where pine or spruce trees dominate. Lingonberries, bilberries, raspberries, and cranberries are commonly found in forests, while cloudberries and bog bilberries thrive in bogs.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of wild berries?

A: Wild berries are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and polyphenols. They are particularly high in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, which give berries their distinctive colors and have numerous health benefits.

Q: How can wild berries be incorporated into a daily diet?

A: Wild berries can be consumed fresh, dried, crushed, or in the form of powder or juice. They can be added to various dishes and should ideally be consumed daily for their nutritional benefits.

Q: What is the calorie content of wild berries?

A: Wild berries are low in calories, with an energy content of approximately 35-80 kcal per 100g. They are mostly composed of water (80-90%) and are a light, nutritious food choice.

Q: Which wild berries are high in dietary fiber?

A: Wild berries such as cloudberry and sea buckthorn are excellent sources of dietary fiber. Fiber content in berries can aid in digestion and overall health.