Lingonberries are usually associated with Sweden as the name comes from the Swedish
word “Lingon” for their native Cowberry. However, Lingonberries are common in the
Scandinavian, Baltic and Central European Countries. You can find Lingonberry products
for sale in the food shop at IKEA, if you want to taste them before you go to the
trouble of growing them. My own view is that the taste is average, and that the quite
large seeds are a nuisance while eating.
I have not grown them, but the plants are now available in the plant catalogues in
It is a small, hardy, evergreen shrub some 20 cm in height. They prefer moist, acidic
soil with some shade and cool conditions. In other words, ideally suited for Scotland,
where the wild form can still be found in upland areas. The plant spreads by underground
rhizomes. It carries small white flowers in the early Summer, which grow into red
acidic berries by the Autumn. Lingonberries would be suitable for growing alongside
cranberries as they require the same acidic soil conditions.
Pests and diseases are not a problem.
The berries traditionally are cooked and used for jams, compote, juice or syrups.
The raw fruit can also be mashed with sugar and stored in the fridge for several
days. In Sweden and Norway, this would accompany meatballs, liver or game meats such
as reindeer. It should also be good to accompany venison.