Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lingonberries

Lingonberries are as common in the food life of a Swede as ketchup is to an American. We use the delicious berries with almost everything edible, with the possible exception of soups and pickled herring (and I am certain that there are some who do that too).

There are two basic ways (and a million varieties) to prepare lingonberries for your meals, either as Crude Stirred Lingonberries or as Lingonberry Jam, where the first is mostly preferred by adults and the latter by children of all ages (some of them are also referred to as "childish adults").

I will share both the standard recipes with you.
Crude Stirred Lingonberries (Which are called "rårörda lingon" in Swedish).
Ingredients
1.0 [any weight or volume quantity you prefer] fresh or freshly frozen lingonberries
0.0-0.5 [same weight or volume unit you used above] granulated white (or brown) sugar

Preparation (approximately 10 minutes)
Clean the berries in water (the debris flows). Pour the berries in a sieve. Drain.

Mix with sugar little by little to moderate sweetness according to your taste. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves and the berries become mushy but still remain whole. Alternatively serve without sugar.

Pour into sterilized jar(s) with tight fitting lid(s).

Note
1. Crude Stirred Lingonberries have a shelf life of no longer than two months. Therefore, do smaller amounts at a time and freeze the rest of the lingonberries for future preparation.
2. Go easy on the sugar, I personally prefer a bit of the sour tang that you get with less sugar.

Lingonberry Jam (which is called "lingonsylt" in Swedish)
Ingredients
1.0 [any weight or volume quantity you prefer] fresh or freshly frozen lingonberries
0.1 [same weight or volume unit you used above] water
0.3-0.5 [same weight or volume unit you used above] granulated white sugar

Stabiliser: Pectin (powder)

Preparation (approximately 40 minutes)
Clean the berries in water (the debris flows). Pour off the water.

Place the berries in a pot and add water. Heat slowly on medium-low heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Skim off.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar a little at a time. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Let the jam again simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.

For firmer jam: Add pectin according to directions on package.

Remove from the heat and let stand a few minutes. Skim off well and pour over into sterilized jar(s). Screw the lid on while the jam is still hot and turn the jar(s) upside down. Then attach the lids tightly and nicely.
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Homemade preparations of lingonberries in cute glass jars can be used an appreciated gift to the hosts when you are invited to a Swedish home. You can of course be petit bourgeois also and bring a bottle of wine or a small bouquet of flowers instead... 

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