Not sure what lingonberries are like? In this article, we're diving into taste, texture and cooking tips so you'll know exactly what you're getting into.
Onward to the lingonberries...
What Do Lingonberries Taste Like?
Picture a cranberry in your mind. It's small, round and vivid red—that's what a lingonberry looks like, too. But appearance is not the only thing the lingonberry shares with the cranberry. They're also similar in taste.
Lingonberries are sour like cranberries, though perhaps not quite as puckery as there is a hint of sweetness (cranberries tend to be all sour flavor). However, lingonberries are also bitter, so the sweet taste is not front and center on the palate.
Also like cranberries, lingonberries are firm until cooked. When simmered, they'll burst open and release their juices, becoming thicker as they cook.
Because lingonberries thicken so easily, they're often used in jellies, jams and sauces (just like cranberries). Below, you'll find a ridiculously easy lingonberry jam recipe that takes almost no effort at all to make.
Can You Eat Lingonberries Raw?
While you could try eating them raw, lingonberries are best when cooked or at least mashed and mixed with a sweetener to curb the sourness. Eaten this way, lingonberries are very enjoyable.
If you try a raw lingonberry, you're going to get a lot of biting acidic flavor and bitterness. Combined with the tartness, this quality can easily overwhelm the natural sweetness of the raw berry.
Is Lingonberry the Same as Cranberry?
Indeed, lingonberries and cranberries have many things in common. Both berries can be found growing in the Northeastern part of the U.S. all the way up to Alaska, and they even look and taste very similar.
However, they're not the same fruits. For starters, lingonberries are much smaller than cranberries. There are also subtle differences in their flavors, though it is true that these differences are very minimal. Still, the two are completely distinct berries.
What Can I Substitute for Lingonberries?
As you may have already guessed, the best substitute for lingonberry is cranberry. No other fruit will quite match the lingonberry flavor so perfectly.
But cranberries aren't the only fruits you can serve in place of lingonberries. You can also try pomegranate, either fresh or in juice form, though you might need to add a little lemon for tang. If all else fails, any tart berry might do.
Lingonberry Serving Tips
So you've got your lingonberries and now you're wondering what to do with them. That's where the following videos come in. They'll help you get a feel for what kinds of recipes you can create with lingonberries.
First up is a raw lingonberry jam recipe. Here's all you need: lingonberries and some sugar. Easy, right?
Once you've made your lingonberry jam, this video is going to show you a traditional way of eating it, which is with Swedish meatballs. Don't worry—these are vegan! You'll be using soy mince (TVP or soy beef crumbles), onions, soy cream, chia seeds, breadcrumbs and other vegan ingredients you might already have.
If you're a cranberry fan, you're probably going to love lingonberries. The two fruits taste so similar that they're essentially interchangeable in recipes. Think of lingonberry sauce like cranberry sauce and use it with sweet or savory foods. Try it with vegan Swedish meatballs for a culinary experience.