They like peat bogs and swamps the most, although they like to be surrounded by mountains as well. Interestingly, they are very sensitive to weather conditions and don’t like heavy rain, but they hate drought just as much. Particularly fond of Lapland, but also appear in the more southern regions of Scandinavia. What I’ve just described are arguably one of the healthiest and at the same time the hardest to come across kind of berries – the cloudberries.
How are cloudberries different from regular raspberries?
In southern Sweden, ripe cloudberries are ready for harvest in the second half of July. In the north of the country, this time limit is shifted to mid-August. The very short season makes the cloudberry a very expensive and valuable commodity. Indeed, in many circles, it’s considered a national delicacy.
When we associate the red color of the fruit with a juicy, mature interior, it proves something opposite. The ready-to-eat cloudberry is… yellow. Ripe fruit is soft, but not as tender and prone to crashing as ordinary raspberries.
There is also a significant difference in taste between them. Cloudberries are very specific – it’s difficult to distinguish any dominant feature in them because it’s neither too bitter nor excessively sweet or sour. It does not resemble the fruit we know and love (at least most people do). One would argue it tastes of forest and wilderness. Some people may be bothered by the tiny seeds while eating. They do not affect the taste in any way, though.
In Scandinavia, it is a well-known and valued fruit, but we too can enjoy its richness.
The secret of the cloudberry phenomenon
Cloudberries contain about 3-4 times more vitamin C than an orange! This fact makes it a remedy and salvation for polar explorers, who often experience scurvy due to their diet poor in vegetables and fruits. It’s also rich in vitamin A, which is very important for the body. Interestingly, it does not need any preservatives thanks to the presence of benzoic acid, which is the best and, above all, natural preservative. Thanks to that, you can successfully store freshly harvested cloudberries for a longer period without losing their valuable properties.
Swedes love being outdoors, and picking berries or mushrooms is a great way to stay close to nature. It’s not uncommon to meet whole families who return to their favorite places each year and together go looking for this gold of the North. Many of them later make their own jams or other preserves that can be enjoyed all year round.
A taste of Scandinavia
Although cloudberries themselves are quite hard to find in nature, you will find them in many forms on Swedish shelves. As a jam, they will be perfect with pancakes and whipped cream. Added to the dessert in the form of a sauce or whole fruit, they give it an interesting character. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, it’s a favorite sweet delicacy of the northerners. I love all kinds of preserves, and to be honest, cloudberry jam was the best I have ever tried.
Health properties of cloudberries
In northern countries, cloudberry fruits and leaves were used in folk medicine as an antipyretic and anti-diarrheal agent, and due to the high content of vitamin C, the fruit effectively protects against scurvy.
What else can this wonderful little-known fruit do for us? Here are some of the health benefits of cloudberries:
1. Natural detoxification of the body
These exceptionally unique and valuable arctic fruits have long been used as a natural diuretic to help increase the effectiveness of the body’s detoxification processes. The ingredients contained in cloudberry allow you to free yourself from dangerous toxins and remove excess water, salt, and even fat. This wonderful fruit also reduces the burden on the liver and kidneys. Thanks to this, the body is regularly and more effectively cleansed.
2. Protection of skin and bone health
The well-absorbed magnesium contained in cloudberries is, next to calcium, the main component that ensures good bone health. It provides a better potential for the absorption of calcium compounds, thanks to which the body can rebuild the defects and quickly regenerate. Thus, eating foods rich in magnesium and calcium can help prevent osteoporosis and extend life significantly. Also, it is worth mentioning that cloudberry contains diosgenin, which is a progesterone precursor. This makes it a great ally in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.
3. Regulation of the immune system
Cloudberries are high in vitamin C and vitamin A, which are very beneficial for the proper functioning of the immune system. Well-absorbed vitamin C effectively stimulates the production of white blood cells. It also acts as a natural antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals throughout the body. The carotenoids contained in it also have an antioxidant effect, protecting the skin and eyes from excessive aging. In addition, cloudberry is full of iron as well as many other beneficial minerals. The iron content is especially important for the proper functioning of the circulatory system as it’s a key element in the production of red cells. By having enough iron in your diet, you can reduce your risk of developing anemia.
4. Cloudberries ensure a healthy heart
Cloudberry has very desirable active ingredients that most fruits lack, i.e. omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Thanks to their presence, cloudberries can help to restore and maintain cholesterol balance, and thus reduce the burden on the work of the entire cardiovascular system.
5. Couldberries for more efficient digestion
The dietary fiber content makes cloudberries ideal for optimizing the functioning of the body’s digestive system. Fiber helps to stimulate peristaltic bowel movement, which reduces constipation, gas, cramps, and more serious conditions such as stomach ulcers or even cancer. Also, fiber helps regulate insulin receptors in the body, which ensures a regular release of sugar in the blood. This, in turn, helps prevent type 2 diabetes. Phenolic compounds derived from raspberry cloudberries also prevent the development of gastrointestinal pathogens.
6. Increased antioxidant protection
In addition to vitamin C, cloudberries contain, among others, such active substances as phytosterols. It is also worth mentioning the powerful ellagic acid contained in it, the effect of which is often associated with reducing the risk of cancer, slowing down the aging processes, reducing wrinkles, and reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases. Cloudberry contains specific biological substances that have effective antibacterial and antiviral effects.
7. Couldberries and skincare
Carotenoids contained in cloudberries effectively delay the aging process, protect the skin against irritation, especially those caused by UV rays, which cause skin photoaging. Also, cloudberry phytosterols have the ability to stimulate collagen synthesis (the main supporting protein of the skin), help maintain skin elasticity, have anti-inflammatory properties, accelerate regeneration and healing of the epidermis.
Shampoos and conditioners with cloudberries moisturize, nourish, and regenerate the hair structure. Cloudberry extract is often an ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos. It’s effective in the care of damaged and colored hair, thanks to the content of vitamins A and E as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Cloudberries stimulate cell renewal, tone the skin, rejuvenates, moisturizes, and have a strong antioxidant effect, which is why companies often enrich hand creams and body lotions with it.
Cloudberry oil is an ideal cosmetic regenerating and rejuvenating the skin. As a result, cosmetics based on cloudberries effectively protect the skin against cold wind and frost and are ideal for sensitive, delicate, and dry skin.