The name of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), also known as wild European blueberry, comes from the colour of its berries, and the fact that ripe berries burst easily and stain the face and hands. The berries ripen in July and August. Bilberries are found everywhere in Estonia. They grow in damp forests and bogs, and usually prefer acidic peat soil. The bilberry is a highly valuable berry. Its dark blue berries have a pleasant and sweet taste. Bilberries can be used to make jam, preserves, juice, wine and more. The berries can also be dried or preserved in bottles. The colorant found in bilberries is a pH indicator which turns from red to blue when the pH in the habitat decreases. Bilberries are also used as food colouring (e.g. for meat stamping), as they are all-natural and safe.
What do bilberries contain?
Bilberries contain 5-7% sugars, pectin, 7% tannins and 1% organic acids. The berries are also rich in valuable vitamins: vitamin C, vitamin A (carotene) and vitamins B1, B2 and B3.
What are the benefits of bilberries?
Bilberries have many healing properties and are widely used in medicine. They improve digestion and memory and are used to treat visual disorders. Due to their high antioxidant content, they help remove free radicals from the body, thereby slowing the aging process and preventing the emergence and development of various illnesses and diseases.