Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | Are They The Same?

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Berries, berries, and berries! We all know that there are so many varieties of berries available in the market but do you know we often confuse lingonberries with cranberries? Yup, they are not the same.

lingoberries juice

Let us start this berry important discussion on lingonberry vs. cranberry.

Cranberries are a well-known variety of berries, whereas lingonberries are less popular among the berry family. You must have come across the flavor of lingonberries if you have tried Swedish cuisine. Still, it needs to be clarified.

Cranberries are red-colored berries that are a little sweet and tart in flavor. They often possess a bitter taste, due to which they are not consumed in raw form. On the other hand, lingonberries are sweet and savory berries looking the same as cranberries but smaller in size.

The taste of these two berries have many differences, even though both are used to make sauces and are often served as a side dish. However, cranberries are well known for their cocktails, and lingonberries make a delicious jar of jam.

Today, we will dig a little deeper into these two berries, mostly found in the wild but difficult to harvest, so they are even cultivated in many cold regions.

By the end of the discussion, we will know the difference between them and a few recipes to try at home with these berries. Firstly, let’s have a look at the overall difference table.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | The Difference Table 

Basis Of DifferencesLingonberryCranberry
SpeciesVaccinium Vitis-idaeaOxycoccos (America and Canada) and Macrocarpon (Europe)
 Found InScandinavian countries, but can also be found in Northern America, Europe, Russia, and AsiaAmerica, Canada, Northern Europe
Raw Flavor


Sweet with bitter, tart undertones



Predominantly bitter
NutrientsHigh in vitamin C and manganeseHigh in vitamin C and copper
Available FormsFresh and driedFresh, dried and powder form

What Is Lingonberry?

lingonberries

If you have tried Swedish dishes, you might be familiar with the taste of lingonberry. Lingonberries are also called cowberries, foxberries, or mountain cranberries.

There are around 25 different names for lingonberries, but cranberries still need to be more popular. They are found in the wild, but the ones you get to see in stores are most likely to be cultivated.

Apart from Sweden, they are found in Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Norway. 

When it comes to the taste of lingonberry, it has a tart and slightly sweet flavor. This is why lingonberries complement savory dishes really well. 

As I have already mentioned, they are found in the wild, mostly in Scandinavian countries, and are considered the best quality. However, these are rare to find, which is why they are cultivated. Lingonberries are tiny red berries that grow on bushes.

They grow in cold climates, so countries like Canada and Russia are often found in China and Italy.

Lingonberries are best for making jams and sauces used in Swedish dishes. They are also eaten raw or used to make wine, sauces, and baked goods.

Lingonberry jam is a traditional recipe usually served with Norwegian pancakes, Swedish meatballs, and potato pancakes. The lingonberries are turned into powder for baking purposes. 

When it comes to cultivation along with the cold climate, lingonberries require soil with few minerals and peat. They prefer open spaces but do not require a lot of moisture.

Lingonberries can grow on rocky ledges, screes, sea cliffs, hilly rocky barrens, mountain summits, high moors, heath barrens, sand dunes, and in peat lands, forest swamps, and bogs.

The leaves of lingonberries are oval in shape with a folded edge at the bottom. The leaves are bright green, waxy, and shiny but change color to a purplish shade as the fall approaches.

The roots of the lingonberries are branchy, and the stems are rounded, which can grow between 4 to 15 in tall.

What Is Cranberry?

cranberry

Cranberries are a well-known variety of berries, even though they are only easily available in some regions. Many of us need to learn that two main species of cranberries are cultivated. These species grow in areas of Northern Europe, America, and Canada. 

The one produced in Northern Europe is called Oxycoccos, and the other grows in America and Canada and is called Macrocarpon. Cranberries are rounded in shape and have a very vibrant red color.

When we talk about cranberries’ flavor, they are sour and juicy with a subtle sweetness. When these berries are dried, they get sweeter in taste.

The size of cranberries is usually larger than lingonberries. These berries are mostly harvested in the wild, but they are also cultivated because of their sour and sweet flavor, which is best for making sauces for meats.

The sugar content in cranberries is usually low, and the bitter flavor dominates the sweetness most of the time. They can be found in fresh, dried, or powdered form. In many areas, you can spot frozen cranberries.

The powdered cranberries are used in desserts, sauces, and smoothies. Cranberries are also famous for their cocktail and are called cranberry juice. 

Cranberries are fully packed with nutrients, just like lingonberries. They are low in calorie count and are fat-free. They are rich in Vitamin C and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamins A, E, and K but are low in protein.

Cranberries can help maintain your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. 

Cranberries thrive in bogs and seasonally flooded areas and grow as dwarf, evergreen shrubs. They have long branches which are covered with small leaves. The upper part of the leaves has a dark green shade, and the other side of the leaves has a pale green color. 

The stems are slender with thin branches. The flowers of cranberries are like whitish pink lilies, shaped like petals and curled backward, and from the center, a tight cluster of long slender reddish stamens and a single slender style appears.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | Similarities

lingoberyy

1. Color and Shape 

Lingonberry and cranberry are both round-shaped berries with vibrant colors. That is the main reason why people need help to differentiate between them. The size of these berries is almost similar. However, cranberries are a little bigger than lingonberries.

2. Cultivation

Both berries are found in the wild and are not available in many areas. The berries which we commonly spot are mainly cultivated. They both grow in the Northern Hemisphere. They both prefer wet and acidic soil.

3. Family

Cranberry and lingonberry are evergreen plants that belong to the same family – the heath family. 

4. Taste

Both the berries have a tart flavor which compliments all the savory dishes. They are used to make sauces, jams, and juices because of the flavor they possess.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | What are the Differences?

Lingonberries in a bowl

These berries look similar, but you will find they are different when you look closely. Let us discuss the major difference between them.

1. Species

Lingonberry belongs to the species called Vaccinium Vitis-idea, whereas the cranberry has two main species – Oxycoccos (America and Canada) and Macrocarpon (Europe).

2. Found In Places 

Both berries are found in the wild. However, lingonberries are mostly found in Scandinavian countries and are cultivated in Northern America, Europe, Russia, and Asia. When it comes to cranberries, you can find them in America, Canada, and Northern Europe.

3. Physical Look

Lingonberry and cranberry look similar to each other because of their shape and color, but the cranberries are larger in size when compared with lingonberries.

If the cranberries are cultivated in the wild, you can spot dwarf, evergreen shrubs with small green leaves with pinkish flowers.

When they are grown commercially, they thrive best in bogs. On the other hand, lingonberries are smaller low-growing shrubs with green leaves which are slightly curved. They also have light pink flowers shaped like bells. 

4. Flavor  

Cranberries have a lower sugar count as compared to lingonberries. They have a tart and bitter flavor, because of which they are not preferred to be eaten raw. The bitter taste is the only reason cranberries are not widely popular and are not found fresh in many regions.

Lingonberries are sweeter with a savory flavor. They are very fruity and taste similar to other berries. They have a tart flavor too, but it is lower than cranberries; therefore, many people eat them raw as well.

5. Nutrients 

Now, we know cranberries and lingonberries are fully packed with nutrients. Lingonberries are high in antioxidants. They have a good amount of minerals and vitamins like magnesium, vitamin C, and E.

When it comes to cranberries, they have a good amount of copper and potassium. Like lingonberries, cranberries also contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and magnesium. 

They both are fat-free. However, lingonberries have some carbs present. Also, lingonberries have little protein, which is lacking in cranberries. 

6. Available in different forms 

Cranberries and lingonberries are available in different forms. They are found in fresh, dried, or powdered forms. Also, many times cranberries are frozen and sold in areas where they are not cultivated.

7. Uses

Lingonberries are best known for their jams, and on the other hand, cranberries are popularly used to make cranberry juice delicious and healthy. The sweet flavor of lingonberries makes a good jam that goes well with pancakes or puddings. 

They are also used in making desserts like cheesecakes and many more like this. Lingonberries are also served as a side dish with mashed potatoes and meatballs.

Now, if we talk about cranberries, apart from juice, they make great sauces for pasta and pizza. Mostly because of their tart flavor, they are sweetened to make them more flavorful.

Top recipes To Make with lingonberry

1. Lingonberry Jam

lingonberry jam

Lingonberry jam is one of the very popular jams out there. Firstly, get some fresh lingonberries and wash them thoroughly. Rinse them well and transfer the berries to a large cooking pot. Add some sugar and put the cooking pot on medium to high heat.

Stir the berries with sugar and let them boil. Now you just need the berries to cook. Let the mixture of sugar and berries simmer for about 30 minutes. When the berries are done turning to jam, they will appear translucent.

You can take a scoop and let it cool for a while and taste the same to know whether the jam is done or not. Now take a fresh and clean jar and transfer the jam into the pot.

Turn the jar upside down to create a vacuum, and store it in a dry and dark place when the jam is cool. 

2. Vanilla Pudding

vanilla pudding

Vanilla pudding is really easy to make and, for sure, very delicious. To make vanilla pudding, you will need some pears. Peel the pears and chop them into pieces. Now, wash the lemons in hot water, extract some juice, and grate some lemon zest.

Now, mix the pears, lemon juice, zest, and apple juice in a pot and bring them to a boil. Cook it for a while, for about 10 minutes.

Now, please remove it from the heat, blend the cooked pears, and let it cool down. In another bowl, combine vanilla pudding powder with milk and sugar.

In another cooking pot, heat some more milk and add the pudding mixture to the milk. Make sure to stir the mixture continuously and cook it for a while. Let the pudding mixture cool down a bit, and then whisk some buttermilk.

Take your serving glasses and alternatively make four layers of pears puree and pudding mixture. On the top, garnish the pudding with fresh lingonberries and enjoy. 

3. Vegan Lingonberry Brownies

Lingonberry brownies

Vegan lingonberry brownies are very tasty brownies if you want to go vegan with your food choices. Make your brownies by mixing together dry and wet ingredients.

For the dry mix, you will need to combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. In another bowl, combine coconut oil, milk, and water.

You can use plant-based milk or oat milk because this is a vegan recipe. Mix the dry and wet ingredients swiftly. Now add chopped dark chocolate with lingonberries and bake the brownies in the oven. Cut in boxes and serve these delicious vegan brownies.

4. Date truffles

Date truffles

Date truffles are very easy to make, requiring lingonberries in powdered form. Simply grate some hazelnuts in the food processor until broken. Don’t make flour out of it. Now add pitted dates into the food processor along with the cocoa powder.

Blend everything until they form balls. Use your to make good small round-shaped balls. Roll these small balls over the lingonberries powder and the shredded coconut. Serve and eat them as it is. You can store them for about a week in the refrigerator. 

5. Vegan Christmas Cheesecakes

Christmas cheescake

Vegan christmas cheesecakes are a delight for those who eat vegan foods. In a bowl, soak some cashews in boiling water. Soak some raisins as well for about 45 mins. Now in a blender, blend the soaked raisins.

Take some almonds, crush them in the blender, and make flour. Add the raisins and coconut milk to make a sticky mix. Now press the crust into the pan using your fingers and put it aside in the fridge.

Now make your cake filling by blending cashew nuts and other ingredients. Take the pan out and spread the cake filling. Put the pan back in the fridge for about 4 hours. Now you need to make a lingonberry layer. Simply crush the berries and extract the juice.

Add chia seeds to the crushed berries and set them in the fridge for a while. Now take your cheesecake out and spread the lingonberry jam, and enjoy. 

6. Whipped Lingonberry Porridge

Whipped Lingonberry Porridge

Whipped lingonberry porridge is a very quick recipe, and for this, you will need – semolina flour, sugar, water, rosemary, salt, and lingonberries. In a saucepan, add some water with lingonberries and rosemary twigs. Let the water boil. Add sugar and salt.

Let everything dissolve properly. Now add semolina flour and mix. Let it cook for about 5-7 mins. Let it cool, and then whip the cooked semolina. You will see a change in the color of the mixture. Now you can serve it with milk or cream.

Store it in the refrigerator as it will stay fresh for up to two or three days, and enjoy.

7. Lingonberries and cream hand pies

Lingonberries and cream hand pies

Lingonberries and cream hand pies are easy to make if you have packed pie dough—Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the circle-shaped pie crust from the dough until the oven is heating. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Now, take the crust and spread the cream cheese mixture. Top it with lingonberry jam, cover it with another circular piece of the dough, and stock the edges using a fork. Brush it with egg and bake it for 20 mins until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Enjoy these delicious lingonberries and cream hand pies at home. 

Top recipes To Make with cranberry

1. Cranberry and dried cherry sauce

Cranberry and dried cherry sauce

Cranberry and dried cherry sauce is a very simple recipe. For this, you will need fresh cranberries. You will also require navel orange, dried cherries, sugar, and salt. Take a saucepan and put it on low-medium heat. Put all the ingredients together and stir well.

Let the sauce cook until it is thick, for about 10 minutes. Let it cool down to room temperature, and now you can use this sauce with any dish you want. You can adjust the sweetness as per your desire. Store the sauce in a clean jar.

This sauce can last for up to two weeks if refrigerated. 

2. Sauteed apples, pears, and cranberries

Sauteed apples, pears, and cranberries

Sauteed apples, pears, and cranberries are good snack option as it is healthy, tasty, and easy to make. Melt some butter in a pan on a medium flame. Chop the apples, pears, and cranberries after washing them thoroughly. 

Add the chopped pears and apples to the melted butter and stir well. Let the fruits soften, and then add cranberries with brown sugar and vanilla extract. Cook the fruits for a few more minutes until the apples and pears start to caramelize.

Remove from the heat and add vinegar. Stir it well, and your sauteed apples, pear, and cranberries are ready.

3. Molded cranberry sauce

Molded Cranberry

Molded cranberry sauce is a must-have side dish. Simply combine cranberries, juice, sugar, zest, salt, and thyme and transfer it to a pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, let it simmer, and cook it by constantly stirring. It will take up to 20-25 minutes.

Let it cool slightly and in another bowl, add gelatin with water. Once the cooked mixture cools down, throw out the thyme and orange zest and blend everything. Now add gelatin water with vanilla extract and give another mix in the blender.

Lightly grease the mold, transfer the blended mixture, and let it chill for about 12 to 48 hours. When they are perfectly set, unmold the cranberry and serve it as a side dish. 

4. Cranberry mulled white wine

Cranberry mulled white wine

Cranberry mulled white wine is a lighter version of white wine. You can prepare this in a few minutes and enjoy it with friends and family. Pick some fresh cranberries and mix some white wine with the cranberries.

Now add honey, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom to a large saucepan. Transfer everything to a pan and simmer it over medium-low heat for about 20-25 minutes. Let the flavors be infused properly.

Strain the liquid and serve it in a glass by garnishing it with lemon slices.

5. Cranberry grape sauce

Cranberry grape sauce

Cranberry grape sauce is another great version of cranberry sauce. Simply cook shallots in oil until they are soft. Add the cranberries and grapes and cook them by stirring them in between. Let the berries burst, which may take up to 3-4 minutes.

Add port and orange juice and cook it until the sauce is thickened. Sprinkle orange zest and season it with salt and pepper. You can serve it warm or let it cool down and enjoy the sauce with bread or other dishes.

6. Cranberry ginger shrub

Cranberry ginger shrub

Cranberry ginger shrub is a non-alcoholic drink that everyone will enjoy without any doubt. To make this exotic drink, you will need some cranberries, vinegar, fresh ginger, cinnamon, sugar, club soda, water, and ice.

Add the cranberries, vinegar, water, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium to high heat. When they are at boiling point, lower the heat and let them simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Let the mixture cool at room temperature, and then strain the liquid. Add some ice to a glass, transfer the cranberry and ginger liquid, and add club soda. Enjoy this with your meals.

7. Cranberry Martini

Cranberry Martini

The cranberry martini is something that you would want to take advantage of. First, make the syrup by combining sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmering it over medium-high heat. Let the sugar dissolve, and then add ginger.

Cook the same for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the syrup sit for about 45 minutes by covering the pan. Let the syrup then cool down. You can refrigerate this for about a week.

Make the cocktail by filling the shaker with some ice cranberry juice, simple ginger syrup, vodka, dry (white) vermouth, and fresh lime juice. Shake them really well. Transfer it to the martini glasses and garnish it with a few frozen cranberries.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | Which Is Healthier?

cranberries

When it comes to nutrients, lingonberry and cranberry are both fat-free and have low or zero carbs. However, lingonberries are more healthy when compared with cranberries as lingonberries contain little amount of protein, whereas cranberries have zero protein.

Lingonberries are also rich in antioxidants; therefore, they lead in health aspects.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | Which Is Tastier?

cranberry-sauce

Though lingonberries are more flavorful as they are sweet and savory, cranberries with lower amounts of sugar have a tart flavor.

Cranberries are a little bitter as well, which makes them difficult to eat in raw form and hence combined with sugar or spices to cover the bitterness. So in terms of taste and flavor, lingonberries are the clear winner.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | Which Is More Versatile?

Cranberyy Sauce

Lingonberries are used to make sauces and jams, similar to cranberries. However, cranberries are more versatile as you can make many drinks and cocktails which can be enjoyed with anyone and everyone.

Cranberries are also available in frozen form and are more popular than lingonberries. So, we can conclude that cranberries are more versatile.

Lingonberry Vs. Cranberry | Which Is Better?

lingoberry in a spoon shaped bowl

Clearly, lingonberries have more points than cranberries when it comes to taste and nutrient content. Cranberries are versatile, as they can be used to make sauces, jams and drinks.

On a personal note, cranberries are better as they are readily available in the market compared to lingonberries and have similar flavors and nutrient contents with some distinctions, obviously. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can we make cranberry sauce at home?

Yes, you can easily make cranberry sauce at home. There are many varieties of recipes for sauces made with cranberry available online, which are super easy and tasty.

Are cranberries and lingonberries the same?

No, despite the fact that they look similar and belong to the same family, they are very distinct in taste and cultivation.

Can we consume canned cranberry sauce?

Yes, canned cranberry sauce can be used in recipes that are long as it will come in handy and fulfill the requirement.

Conclusion 

Now that we have reached the end of the fruity discussion, I am very sure that you will pick cranberries and lingonberries whenever you spot them while shopping for groceries. Please try the recipes and let us know in the comments about the experience.

Until now, we have understood what cranberries and lingonberries are and how they differ. Let me know if this discussion was helpful; We will be back with more fruitful conversations. Until then, try the cranberry martini and dance your heart out.

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