What is a Bilberry?!
Think you know your fruits? Of course you do – from raspberries and strawberries to kiwi fruits and limes – it’s always easy to tell the difference, right? Hmm, not always. What about blueberries and bilberries?
That’s right, BILBERRIES!
It’s easy to get bilberries and blueberries mixed up, and in fact, many people do. But they’re actually different fruits, so here’s the lowdown on the deliciously juicy bilberry and how they can benefit our health.
What’s the difference between bilberries and blueberries?
Give them a quick glance, and you might find it tricky to tell the difference between these two dark berries. But on further inspection, bilberries are typically smaller and darker than blueberries. Rather than blue, bilberries can appear almost black on the outside.
Take a bite and inside the differences are more obvious – the common blueberry tends to have pale flesh, sort of a greenish white. But the less well-known bilberry has dark flesh and it’s for this reason that they need to be eaten with care – they can, and do, stain light fabrics and clothing. You may also find that they leave their temporary mark on your fingers and teeth too.
But staining aside, bilberries are soft and juicy, more so than blueberries and also have a more intense flavor. Because they’re softer, they’re more delicate and are therefore more difficult to package, transport and store than blueberries. For this reason, we tend to see the hardier blueberries in supermarkets and market stalls rather than bilberries.
Which is a crying shame, because bilberries are packed with goodness.
What are the health benefits of bilberries?
Bilberries are loaded with antioxidants which help to keep the immune system healthy by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are nasty, unstable elements caused by eating fried, sugary and processed foods, smoking and breathing in environmental toxins and pollutants. They’re also a by-product of normal biological functions such as breathing and digestion, so they’re hard to avoid.
The antioxidants contained within bilberries are known as anthocyanins, which are powerful plant-based flavonoids that help to protect the cells of the immune system from free radical damage. They’re also rich in vitamin C, which has an antioxidant effect too.
Anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to protect the body from chronic inflammation and disease.
Where will I find bilberries?
Since bilberries grow in the wild in high, hard to reach ground in fairly cold climates (the North of the UK is the perfect climate for bilberries) and because they’re very delicate little things, you’ll be hard pushed to find fresh bilberries in your local supermarket.
You may find them in the frozen section, but we think the best way for you to consume these tiny nutrient powerhouses, is to let us do all the hard work for you!
Our Organic Dried Whole Bilberries are quick-dried to maintain their nutritional value after being wild harvested by hand in the foothills and low alpine areas of Southern Europe. With nothing but whole bilberries included, add them to smoothies, juices, energy balls and your baking to supercharge your antioxidant intake!