The Bilberry

billberry290x200The Bilberry (Vacinnium Myrtillus) is a small shrubby perennial that grows in damper, acidic areas of meadows and woodland.  Edible black/blue fruits are produced in mid to late summer, singly or in pairs.

Known by many other names inclding: Bleeberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry (or winberry), wimberry, myrtle blueberry, fraughan, and other regional variations. They were called black-hearts in 19th century southern England.

From April to June the plant produces small pink, bell shaped flowers. The leaves are green on both sides and have gently serrated edges.

The berries provide a useful food source for birds and animals and have had culinary and medicinal uses for many centuries.

Like most purple and red coloured fruits, they contain a powerful antioxidant, anthocyanoside and are traditionally used to maintain healthy vision.

They are thought to stimulate re-growth and reproduction of collagen.  Stabilize capillary membranes and increase prostaglandin E.

Closely related to the cultivated Blueberry, it’s culinary uses are the same. Berries can be eaten uncooked or made into pies, jams and cakes.

Some useful tasty recipes;
Blueberry cheesecake gateau
Blueberry and ricotta pancakes
Gluten-free blueberry muffins
Apple and blueberry slump
Individual summer puddings with summer berries
Blueberry coconut cake
Speedy summer berry jam