Lingon are all over the place where we’re living, and while we do pick them when in season, I more often buy boxes of frozen lingonberries in the shop. They’re an excellent alternative to cranberries for recipes like lemon cranberry muffins, and make a delicious lingonberry sauce that doesn’t require any cooking.
Lingonberry sauce, or stirred lingonberries (rårörda lingon), is an old recipe in Sweden and other northern European countries, and made for a pretty good way to preserve them in former times. Lingon used to be quite often mixed with water and stored in root cellars but that method has largely fallen out of common practice. They’re high in benzoic acid, so the shelf life is longer despite a low sugar content.
These berries are native to North America, too, and are an important part of Indigenous food practices in the regions where they grow. I don’t know if they’re commercially available in Canada or the U.S. yet but you can certainly find them wild (also called cowberry and mountain cranberry).
The end result is a tart sauce with whole berries, very good served with any kind of savoury pie, classic Swedish meatballs, or over sweet dishes like pancakes. This recipe can be made with fresh or frozen berries.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lingonberries: there is no substitute for lingonberries, but you can use fresh or frozen in equal quantities for this recipe.
- Honey: if preferred, use double the amount of powdered sugar, to taste. Substitute maple syrup for the honey for a vegan option.
- Add-ins: while the traditional version is made with just two ingredients, additions like a teaspoon of orange zest, lemon zest, or thyme leaves could be used. Other fruit like pomegranate seeds can be added, depending on the way you plan to use it.
Step by Step
Step 1: add the thawed berries and honey to a mixing bowl.
Step 2: stir to combine, then set aside to rest for several minutes before serving.
This can be cooked if preferred, if you want something more like a jam. Simply place the berries in a small saucepan and cook, covered, for about ten minutes. Add a splash of water if needed. Once cooked, and most of the berries have burst, stir in the honey. Cool fully and store in the refrigerator (this isn’t real jam, and can’t be canned).
How to Store
Storage: keep the sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. It may last longer, depending on whether the container was sterilised, how cold the refrigerator is, and so on, but should be okay for about a week (just check it before serving).
Freezing: if using thawed lingonberries, the sauce can’t be frozen again. If you’ve used fresh berries, freeze the sauce in an airtight container for up to three months.
- Use sterilised jars: a glass container that has been sterilised (I usually use the oven method) is ideal to store this recipe, and will result in a longer-lasting preserve.
- Sweeten to taste: depending on how sour you like it, you may want to reduce the amount of honey or increase to your preference. Consider that amount a guideline but keep in mind that it is lightly sweetened.
More Berry Recipes
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- 250 grams lingonberries fresh or thawed from frozen
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Thaw the berries if using frozen. Add berries and honey to a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon, crushing the berries partly, until the honey is fully dissolved.250 grams lingonberries, 2 tablespoons honey
- Set aside to rest for ten minutes, covered, before storing or serving. This will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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