What is a Lingonberry?

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Until about 2 weeks ago I had never been to an Ikea store.  My oldest grandson and I were looking for something to do and, surprisingly, he suggested we go.  I had always thought of Ikea as a store that sold inexpensive-some-assembly-required furniture.  I was in for a big surprise that was quite delightful! Well worth the hour and a half drive to get there!

Just to note in case you’re not familiar with IKEA it is a Swedish-founded and Dutch-based multinational group that does design and sell assembly required furniture as well as other home furnishings and offers complete kitchen design products.  In addition their stores feature Swedish food products. Their prices are very reasonable and I found the quality of everything to be good.

We ate lunch in their cafe which is conveniently located in the middle of the store. He suggested the Swedish meatballs and I was not disappointed! The entire meal was delicious and nicely served on real plates with real utensils and an actual glass for my drink.  My only debate was if it should be considered “pre-fab”, but I decided not to consider that question.  Just eat and enjoy.

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Along with the entree and sides there was a helping of lingonberry sauce; I had never heard of lingonberries and expected it to taste like cranberry sauce as it looked identical.  But it was totally different with a mildly sweet taste that was the perfect complement to the meal. So as we shopped I picked up a jar of their lingonberry jam even though I rarely eat anything with jelly or jam.  Why not give this a try for something different?  And, the nutritional information wasn’t bad at all.

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So what is a lingonberry? The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association defines it as

A close relative of the cranberry and the blueberry, lingonberries (Vaccinum vitis-idaea var. minimus), usually known as the lowbush or mountain cranberry, do grow wild in the cooler regions of the United States.  

The lingonberry grows as a shiny leaved, short spreading, evergreen shrub, quite similar to the lowbush blueberry, although the branches of the plant are more tender and less woody.

picture from Wikipedia of the species found in North America