Cranberry vs. Lingonberry

Cranberry vs. Lingonberry

Lingonberry and cranberry are evergreen plants that belong to the heath family. They can be found in cool areas of the Northern hemisphere. Lingonberry grows in the boreal forests (coniferous forests on the north), while cranberry thrives in the bogs and seasonally flooded areas. Both plants prefer areas with wet, acidic soil. People cultivate lingonberry and cranberry mostly as a source of food. These two plants produce red berries that have similar taste, but they can be easily differentiated via:

Morphology of Mature Plant

Lingonberry is small evergreen, low-growing shrub with oval, leathery, green leaves that are slightly curled on the edges. Plant produces small, bell-shaped, white or light pink flowers during the spring and small, red, shiny berries during the summer and autumn. Cranberry grows in the form of creeping vine or as a dwarf evergreen shrub. It has long branches covered with small leaves. Cranberry produces dark pink flowers during the summer and large, red berries during the autumn.

Size of Berries and Fruit Stalks

Lingonberry produces small, roundish berries on the short stalks. They are arranged in clusters. Cranberry produces large individual red berries on the long stalks.

Nutritional Value

Lingonberries are rich source of vitamins E, A, C and vitamins of the B group. They also contain minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Cranberries are good source of vitamins C, E and B5 and manganese.

Consumption

Lingonberry is very popular in the Northern Russia and in Nordic countries (especially in Sweden). It has sour-sweet and slightly bitter taste (it contains more sugar than cranberry). Lingonberries are used for the manufacture of jam that is often combined with pancakes and puddings or used for the preparation of cheese cake and various pies. Lingonberries are also used for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages (such as lingonberry vodka) and juices. As a side dish, lingonberries are often served next to mashed potato, meat balls and roasted lamb. Cranberries are very tart and they are rarely consumed fresh. More commonly, cranberries are thermally processed (or dried) and sweetened before consumption. They are used for the preparation of cranberry sauce which is inevitable part of Thanksgiving feast in the USA. Cranberries are also frequently consumed in the form of juice. They are also available in the cans and in dried form.

Medical Properties

Tea made of leaves of lingonberry is used in homeopathy, mostly in treatment of bacterial infections. Lingonberries soaked in water were used as home remedy against scurvy in the past. Jelly or syrup made of lingonberries is popular folk remedy for kidney disorders, indigestion and fever, while cranberries represent one of the most popular herbal remedy when it comes to urinary tract infections.

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