Herb-rich, mesic and sub-xeric heath forests in southern Finland. In northern Finland, the bilberry is found in slightly drier and more barren heath forests. It prefers shady areas out of direct sunlight. The best places to look for bilberries are northern slopes, edges of logging areas and the banks of forest ponds.
The best time to pick bilberries is from the end of July until the beginning of September.
Bilberries contain vitamins C, E and fiber. The most significant health benefit of the bilberry, however, is the anthocyanin compounds it contains. The wild bilberry is three to four times richer in these flavonoids than is the related highbush blueberry, a cultivated plant. The blue pulp of the wild bilberry is full of the pigment anthocyanin, while the highbush blueberry has a light-coloured pulp.
Bilberry is most commonly used to make jams and pies.
To be noted
Photos: Aino Huotari