The amber-coloured cloudberry is appreciated by many and considered one of Sweden's foremost delicacies. Cloudberries are not only beautiful to look at but they’re healthy too, and are the perfect addition to delicious desserts and jams.
Cloudberries - a Swedish delicacy
In Norrland (the northern part of Sweden), cloudberries are an even more common sight, where they flourish in sunny marshland and create the illusion of a sea of gold as they ripen. In the height of a Swedish summer, the marshlands and wet meadows in the north of the country start to glow a fiery amber. As well as being considered a Swedish delicacy, cloudberries are also packed with vitamins! The berries contain up to four times as much vitamin C as an orange, and just 100 grams of cloudberries provides almost the entire daily requirement of vitamin C for the average adult. In addition, they also contain fibre, magnesium, zinc, potassium and beta-carotene.
Cloudberries, which are a type of stone fruit, grow (with the notable exception of Öland) throughout the whole of Sweden, but are more commonly found the further north you travel. The plants like moist soil, acidic conditions and lots of sunshine, and are often found in sunny open marshland and bogs. When searching for cloudberries it’s recommended to wear sturdy boots and a long-sleeved top – and remember to use plenty of mosquito repellent!
”Boys and also others are very fond of berries. From Västerbotten a huge amount of macerated cloudberries were sent annually to Stockholm to be used in salads”.” - Carl von Linné, in 1737
In the northern county of Västerbotten, cloudberries are sometimes referred to as ‘snattren’, and ripen from mid-July to mid-August, changing colour as they mature. Initially they are red and tightly enclosed by their leaves, but slowly the colour shifts to orange before the fruit turns yellow, juicy and soft as it fully ripens. There’s a Sami saying that goes "the cuckoo has the cloudberry in its throat", which means the cloudberries are ripe when the cuckoo falls silent in the middle of summer. A tip is to wait until the berry comes off easily from the small rosette of leaves it sits on. Then the cloudberry is perfect to eat!
Cloudberries can be enjoyed either fresh or frozen. They have a mild, sweet and fruity taste and are often used in desserts. Hot cloudberry jam with vanilla ice cream is a real classic, but it is also common to make cloudberry liqueur, cloudberry parfait, cloudberry jam, cheesecake or spicy chutney. Only your imagination can set the limits! Like lingonberries and cranberries, cloudberries contain large amounts of natural benzoate. This means you do not need to add any preservatives – just a little sugar to suit your own taste.
The large leaves of the cloudberry plant are easy to recognise. The plant is between 10 and 15 centimetres tall, with lobed, handlike-shaped leaves in varying shades of green and produces large, white flowers. Cloudberry flowers are particularly susceptible to frost, so if there is a heavy frost when the cloudberry flower blooms there’s a big risk there will be no berries that year. This is why there can be a big difference in the size of the harvest each year – as well as the price you’ll have to pay per kilo.
As well as being delicious to eat, cloudberries are also used in numerous skincare products. They are full of vitamin E, an antioxidant that safeguards the skin from harmful free radicals and protects it against wrinkles and dryness. In addition, the oil from cloudberry seeds contains Omega 3 and Omega 6, which helps the skin maintain moisture balance and reduces fine lines.
Today there are lots of beauty products on the market that contain cloudberries. It is often said that the gold grows in the never-ending northern summer nights, and that the berries get their richness from the region’s clean, clear waters.
Cooking and preparing desserts with cloudberries is both easy and delicious
Food & Beverage in the Umeå region
Umeå is a fantastic food town. Most of the restaurants, regardless of focus, use produce from our part of the country. So you can be sure to find something with a Västerbotten taste, with the chef’s own twist.