25 Jul '13

Go wild for blueberries

Mustikka (wild blueberries) are plentiful throughout the Nordic countries at this time of year, where berry picking is a national pastime in the summer.  The best place to find them is in the pine forests which are full of plump and ripe berries, ready for picking.

Although the growing season is short, the long daylight hours of the summer produces wild blueberries that are very different from those that are cultivated.  Wild Nordic berries are much smaller (almost the size of blackcurrants).  The skin is thinner and darker in colour.  Even the inside is blue!  Plus they have a stronger concentration of flavour – more tart, less sweet.

Blueberries have become popular due to their ‘superfood’ status and in particular their antioxidant properties which are significantly higher than those of vitamins C and E.  Wild blueberries have a much higher anthocyanin content (double that of cultivated berries) – this is the flavonoid which gives them their antioxidant properties and is responsible for the deep blue colour.

For us, at Nordic Bakery, summer is a time to celebrate wild blueberries.  Their intense blueberry taste makes them ideal for pies and desserts and we use them in many of our products – juice, cordial, cheesecake, tart, buns and jam.