These berries are not very blueberry… Swedish wild blueberries are actually bilberries!


Today, we had some time to make an all-time favorite of Jan’s, Swedish pancakes! He’s not a big fan of American pancakes, but then again, I don’t call Swedish pancakes, pancakes, I refer to them as crepes! 😛

We had delicious wild blueberry compote (sylt) and homemade whipped cream, YUMMO! I just love wild blueberries, and they are totally different from American or Canadian wild blueberries, which resemble more a grape than the blueberries my hubby picks from the forests in Sweden. I am not sure why they are so different. All I know, is that when you eat the European variety, your teeth and tongue look like someone has punched you in the mouth. You’re black and blue for at least a day after eating these berries.


After a search on Wikipedia, I found out that what they call wild blueberries in Canada are completely different from the ones in Sweden! The ones in Sweden are called Bilberries, and they are difficult to cultivate, thus they are always wild-picked. AHHHHH, no wonder!

Well, I am so happy that I can get bilberries here in Toronto (still called blueberries on the package). They are from Lithuania or Latvia, which have a very similar climate to Sweden since they are nearby.

Some other interesting Berry Facts:
Did you know the cloudberry is called bakeapple in Canada?

Did you also know that partridgeberry is also otherwise known as lingonberry up in the northern provinces of New Foundland?

Here’s a place for you to order cloudberry and lingonberry preserves, syrups and punch concentrate online from a place in New Foundland!

Dark Tickle Jams

Also, wild European blueberry jam (bilberry jam) is widely available in Toronto under the Bonne Maman brand, Wild Blueberry Preserves. You can find it at Metro, Longo’s and other Canadian grocery stores.

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Categories: Swedish Food


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6 Comments on “These berries are not very blueberry… Swedish wild blueberries are actually bilberries!”

  1. February 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Oh, we have bilberries in Poland, too. And I miss them a lot.
    You are right, you cannot compare the taste and the ‘colour experience’ after eating bilberries and blueberries 😉

    • March 11, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Yes, I know, those berries are so much flavorful! I found “bilberries” at Metro as Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry jam, since it is made in France. But it is much cheaper to make your own jam and buy it from Yummy’s. Have to you been to Starsky’s yet, a Polish store in Toronto?

      • March 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

        Not yet. I haven’t been to Canada at all yet 😉 🙂
        At the moment I am living in Brazil but here the same problem exists 🙂

  2. Robert Cohen
    August 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    Hi Myleen,

    I went to Yummy Market today to look for bilberries. In the freezer section, I found bags of frozen blueberries, frozen wild blueberries, and frozen black currants. Only the latter had country of origin on them and it was Lithuania or Latvia. Could you confirm that it was the wild blueberries you purchased and not the black currants? I can’t tell the difference by looking at them as to which ones are bilberries.


    • August 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Hi Robert,
      Choose the generic frozen WILD blueberries 1 KG bag if you’re at Yummy’s, as they are most probably from Latvia/Lithuania (even if not labeled on there), which means that they are more than likely bilberries. European wild blueberries (bilberries) are very different from both the North American wild blueberries and black currants. I wrote a post about them here:

      Good luck! And if you’re lazy… Bonne Maman makes bilberry jam called “Wild Blueberry Preserves”, and they are available at almost all big chain grocery stores like Metro, Sobey’s and Loblaw!

  3. Malin Senkoe
    January 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Swedish/European blueberries are also different in one more way. While North American blueberries are a mild laxative, the bilberry is actually “stopping” and blueberry soup is commonly used to help recover from tummy flues in Sweden. The effectiveness as a cure is a bit questioned, but it is still a good way to replenish some energy and fluids.

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