Monday, July 15, 2013

Wild Food Identification- Bilberry

Bilberries have been on my wild food bucket list for ages now, but somehow I have always missed the season. If you come too early (between April and June) bilberries are pink with a  slight greenish tint falling downwards from the bush and if you wait too late, wildlife (and other foragers) will gladly get there first.  
Bilberry- (Vaccinium Mirtillus) is a small shrub, growing on heaths and moors so usually anywhere where there is heather, there will be a bilberry bush somewhere close by.  The leaves are oval, almost pointing upwards.

The bush starts flowering anywhere between April and June where you can find little globes with a pinkish and green colour. They grow on their own and not  clusters. In the following months, the globes will gradually change colour and shape until they become deep blue looking like a smaller and darker variety of blueberries. Then they are ready to be picked. Bilberry is similar to blueberry in taste and in colour and so the same recipe that contains blueberries can be used for bilberries.  The foraging is quite laborious as you have to uncover the little branches to get to the solitary berries. It is hard to not eat every single one that you pick as I think you should always treat yourself for hard work!
Happy foraging! 

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