by HANNAH HORN
Imagine traveling through wild shrubs, to find the sight of a couple dozen glorious yellow nuggets attached kindly to their plants. At first glance, these cloudberries (rubus chamaemorus) might appear strange, but they aren’t as intimidating once you take a bite. These little attachments are actually fruits but many still consider them berries, resembling much of a raspberry with a tart taste of sweet and sour. They are found in alpine and artic tundra and boreal forests around the world, thriving in northern damp fields with mosses or marshes, tending to be very sensitive to salty and dry conditions. The cloudberry “flowers” are also very sensitive to the cold weather and even frost, but surprisingly, the bush’s roots can handle temperatures dwindling down to about -40 degrees Celsius. The harvesting of cloudberries will always depend on the weather like many other crops, taking about seven whole years to grow from a seed to an adult plant.
As the cloudberry blooms, it starts out an initial gray to a bright firetruck red, over time it will eventually become juicy, soft, and a beautiful yellow color. Though, these berries ripen at a different pace so when picking cloudberries by hand, you could easily spot the unripen kernels still growing amongst the different colors. The bushes can reach between 4 inches to 1 foot high. The plants begin to flower in June and the berries usually ripen in July. The season is very short: often they’re all gone by mid-August.
These pretty plants are not only known for their astounding colors or remarkable taste, but the fact that it is very nutritious and could be used as a source of medicine. Cloudberries contain tons of useful vitamins and nutrients; such as high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, omega-3, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and beta carotene. These special fruits have been used for centuries in hopes to strengthen vitality and prevent numerous illnesses and infections. It is a superfood that protects the body and solidifies a strong immune system. The yellow buds also produce a special seed oil of rich vitamin E, which is popular to manufacture in the cosmetic market. Since the growing phase can be very tricky, cloudberries are considered a luxury and can be very pricey.
“The Gold Of The Forest” in Scandinavia is also made into jam, though the taste isn’t as sharp, it is still very good for you from low sugar levels and worth the expense. There is nothing out there even remotely in the same league as the wondrous cloudberry!
If you don’t have access to the cloudberry where you live, there are ways to purchase cloudberry jam. Cloudberry jam is often placed on scones, mixed with fresh cream, placed as a topping on cheese, or used in a variety of delicious recipes.
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cloudberry jam
caramel to glaze the molds:
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Whip the cream and sugar, add vanilla extract.
Gently fold in the cloudberry jam.
Pour into a serving bowl and decorate with fresh cloudberries.
Serve with krumkaker or almond cookies or use between layers of a torte.
If you happen to have been lucky enough to have eaten cloudberries and have a cloudberry recipe you’d like to share, please feel free to tell us in the comment section!
FOR THE KIDS!
Download our free PDF with a special kids’ cloudberry activity!
Click the link: cloudberry activity