Cloudberries are yellow, beautiful, raspberry like fruit with a unique taste that can be described as sweet and sour with a tart taste. You can eat cloudberries as they are, but it's common to make jam of them.
Check out the results of our taste tests below!
I really like berries. Actually, to be honest, I'm crazy about them. There is a berry called "the gold of the forest" in Scandinavia that only grow in northern climates; the cloudberry. The cloudberry is beautiful, tasty and really hard to pick.
To eat a Cloudberry is like eating a little piece of heaven with every bite! Cloudberries are very special and unique, there is not a berry out there that I have found that are in the same league as the cloudberry.
It's a small berry that resembles a raspberry by it's shape, but not by color and to by taste. In Scandinavia Cloudberries are considered a luxury commodity and can be quite expensive.
My goal with this article is to try to articulate to you why this berry is called "The Gold Of The Forest", what it tastes like and why you shouldn't hesitate to give it a try.
If you really want to experience the unique taste of cloudberries you can start small by trying a jam. I recommend you to buy a cloudberry jam on Amazon. We recommend this one because it tastes delicious, it's low in sugar and it's priceworthy. For images and prices including availability in other Amazon markets please go to our recommended page.
Table of Contents
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What Is A Cloudberry?
A cloudberry is a yellow, raspberry like fruit that you need to work hard to get a hold of. One interesting fact about the cloudberry is that it's really not a berry. The cloudberry is actually a fruit.
Well, it's botanically classified as a fruit. But, botanically correct or not, I still regard the cloudberry as a berry, just like strawberries or blackberries and other "berries" that have been botanically classified as fruits. They even have the word berry in their name so I go with "if it looks like a berry, it smells like a berry and it tastes like a berry..."
The cloudberry bush is between 4 inches (10 cm) and 1 feet (33 cm) high. It thrives in damp fields, such as mosses and marshes. Low pH and a lot of sun are beneficial factors. The cloudberry is sensitive to salty and dry conditions.
The cloudberries roots are very cold resistant and can handle temperatures down to -40 degrees, just like the lingonberries. The cloudberries flowers, on the other hand, are sensitive to cold.
This means that if there is a cold frost night during the flowering period, the cloudberry flowers will be damaged by the frost and then there won't be any berries that year.
In Scandinavia this is something that we call "a bad cloudberry year". If the spring is too cold it usually means fewer cloudberries.
What Is a 'Cloudberry Year'?
In Scandinavia we look at the harvest of cloudberries from year to year. If the berries are abundant we call it a "cloudberry year". It's all dependent on the weather. One year the fields are covered in yellow, but next year there is hardly any berries in sight.
The berries are initially gray, then red and hard, but as it ripens, it becomes yellower, softer, juicy, and delicious! The berries ripen unevenly between bushes so when picking cloudberries you often see both ripe yellow berries and red-yellow unripe ones.
It's possible to pick the ones that are not really ripe, but there is a risk that the kernels will get bigger if they ripen after picking. It can also effect the taste somewhat. The ripe berry loosens easily from the stalk.
Cloudberries are not commonly cultivated, they grow in the wild. There's been attempts on trying to grow cloudberries but there's still not any large plantations where they manage to grow them.
It's extremely difficult to grow cloudberries. The plant is very picky when it comes to weather and temperature, and it takes about seven years from seed to a grown plant!
You'll mostly find Cloudberries in marshes. They are picked by hand as marshes are naturally hard to traverse with machines. So it's a tricky business.
This makes the berry something of a luxury commodity and a jar of cloudberry jam can be quite expensive.
We've written an article about where cloudberries grow and how to find them, if you're interested in picking them yourself.
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How Nutritious Are Cloudberries Then?
Cloudberries have always been appreciated for its good taste, and its beautiful appearance, but the berry has also been regarded as a medicinal plant. Cloudberries contain lots of vitamins!
There is no doubt that cloudberries packed with useful substances and nutrients that are good for your health. Cloudberries contain ellagic acid and omega-3.
They also contain magnesium, zinc, potassium and beta carotene and are rich in fibers and contain vitamins A, E and C.
The cloudberry has high levels of vitamin C. It actually contains up to four times as much vitamin C as orange. It also contains more vitamin E than many other berries or fruits.
The cloudberries seed oil is especially rich in vitamin E. Even the vitamin A content is many times higher than in other berries.
The Department of Food and Environmental Sciences in University of Helsinki has conducted several studies on cloudberries.
The results of these studies show that Cloudberries have a beneficial effect on the bowel function. Cloudberries may also reduce the risk of colon cancer and have therapeutic value in reducing cancer progression and metastasis.
In The Old Days The Cloudberry Could Cure Anything, Or So It Seemed..
Cloudberries have been used for a long time. Historically, the cloudberry was used to strengthen vitality. It was also used for the prevention of colds and infections.
For a long time, tea has been boiled on cloudberry leaves. I find Cloudberry tea delicious with a unique flavor. The tea made of cloudberries was considered to be a powerful cure for urinary tract infections and other urinary tract illnesses.
Cloudberries were also considered to help stop internal bleeding, improve digestion and protect against cardiovascular, kidney, liver, respiratory and gall bladder diseases.
Many, if not all, of these medicinal uses comes in part from the high Vitamin C content of the cloudberries. Vitamin C is something we need to strengthen our immune system.
For instance, Canadian Inuits have used cloudberries for a long time, not only for the nutrients but for the good taste and the preservative capabilities this berry has. They also use the vitamin C rich cloudberries as medicine against scurvy which is an illness that occurs due to vitamin C deficiency.
What Do Cloudberries Taste Like?
Cloudberries are special. The berry is juicy and the taste is freshly sour, a bit sweet with a little tart touch.
It has a unique taste which people usually fall in love with. The berry is not overly sweet and is perfect for making jam or marmalade of.
For that extra kick in flavors I recommend you heat the jam or marmalade and serve it with vanilla ice cream or with a cheese tray with brie and blue cheese.
If you have cloudberry jam on waffles with some whipped cream, you'll be smiling with every bite.
The sweet and sour flavor of the jam combined with the crisp waffle and the thickness of the cream makes it absolutely fantastic!
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The Results From Our Care Omnia Taste Test!
To give you a better idea about the taste of cloudberries we came up with a very non-scientific taste test of cloudberry products.
We served traditional cloudberry jam, the more healthy raw-stirred jam, some cloudberry crumble pie and a cloudberry parfait to our children, and ourselves of course. I won't miss a chance to eat some cloudberries!
We got our three children aged 4, 9 and 13 and then me, Sara, and my husband Peter, to test all of the products and give a "grade" on them.
If you are interested in the recipes of the products we used in this test, you can find them in our article 8 Amazing Things You Can Do With Cloudberries.
Test 1: What Does Traditional Cloudberry Jam Taste Like?
Cloudberry jam is a fantastic jam that is not overly sweet. It has a nice balance between sweetness and sourness. The texture has a crunchy touch because of the seeds in the jam. The seeds aren't hard so they won't bother you.
As you can see the traditional cloudberry jam was a mixed experience.
Our 4 and 9 year old didn't like it that much but both me and my husband and our 13 year old thought it was delicious.
If you're interested in buying a traditional cloudberry jam I recommend this one available on Amazon. It's delicious, low on sugar and quite affordable (for a cloudberry product)! For images and prices including availability in other Amazon markets please go to our recommended page.
Test 2: What Does Cloudberry Raw-Stirred Jam Taste Like?
The raw-stirred jam has two great advantages over the traditional cloudberry jam
- There is usually less sugar added to raw-stirred cloudberries
- You don't cook or heat the berries when making raw-stirred cloudberry jam.
The beautiful thing with the raw-stirred jam is that you get all of the flavors from the fresh cloudberries in jam-form. Just a little sweeter than if you eat them fresh.
The Raw-Stirred Cloudberry Jam did better than the traditional one.
Our 4 year old was able to describe the difference in taste between the traditional jam and this one and thought it was quite okay.
But our 9 year old didn't waiver...this jam didn't taste well. "Actually worse than the traditional one!"
But for us "older" ones it put a smile on our faces!
The raw-stirred variety is seldom available to buy even in Scandinavia so if you want to experience the most exclusive and healthy variety of cloudberry jam we recommend you instead make your own. Read our article 8 Amazing Things You Can Do With Cloudberries [w/ Recipes] for our easy recipe for raw-stirred cloudberry jam.
Test 3: What Does Cloudberry Crumble Pie Taste Like?
A crumble pie is easy to make and it's absolutely perfect as a dessert. I recommend you serve it together with the cloudberry parfait, ice cream or some whipped cream to enhance the experience of this nice pie even further.
This went even better than the Raw-Stirred Cloudberry Jam!
The cloudberry crumble got a passing grade or better from everyone, even our 9 year old!
Test 4: What Does Cloudberry Marmalade Taste Like?
Cloudberry marmalade is a pretty sweet sour marmalade that is a luxurious treat that goes well on the cheese tray!
The one we tried is a smooth marmalade without any berries or kernels.
If you make this yourself we have a recipe on it, but you need to be aware of that this marmalade has been cooked for a long time, so the nutrient contents in the berries have been lowered.
You eat this marmalade for it's amazing taste, not the health benefits of cloudberries.
This marmalade got a pretty high rating.
Everyone thought is was really good, but my husband likes when the berries and kernels are left in the marmalade. This one had been sifted so the texture wasn't to his liking but the flavor was there!
The 4 year old was surprised that he liked the marmalade!
The rest of us did like the smooth texture and the sweetness of the marmalade. It felt luxurious to eat it.
Test 5: What Does Cloudberry Parfait Taste Like?
Parfait is a form of ice cream with a lot of cream. This cloudberry parfait, I would say, is more like ice cream, but it does have some of that extra creaminess and it tastes heavenly!
The cold and creamy, sweet parfait combines well with the sweet and sourness of the cloudberries.
I recommend you serve it with some heated cloudberry jam if you want to make the dish extra luxurious.
We saved the best for last. The Cloudberry Parfait is almost like ice cream and absolutely delicious.
Something that was confirmed by everyone in our test group.
It was all smiles! Especially as the kids soon realized there was more parfait in the freezer to be had…
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What You Can Do With Cloudberries
Cloudberries tastes at their best when they are fresh and processed as little as possible. Process them as little as possible to protect both the nutrients and the flavor!
Jam is the most common thing made from cloudberries. But you can also make desserts, drinks and liqueurs.
It's also common to conserve cloudberries by deep-freezing them and later boiling jam or juice on them.
By squeezing the juice from the berries you get a nice vitamin juice, that's very nutritious and delicious.
There are people who think that in order to get a really good cloudberry jam you have to use lots and lots of sugar.
I disagree, but in many recipes of jam you find lots of added sugar. Adding all that sugar is unnecessary in my opinion, you can skip a lot of it and still get a really tasty cloudberry jam.
Since cloudberries, like lingonberries, cranberries and rowan berries contain a lot of the natural preservative benzoic acid, cloudberry jam doesn't require as much added sugar as other jams to have a long shelf life.
There are also jams that you can buy that are absolutely amazing. There is of course sugar in them (I've still to find a cloudberry jam that is entirely without added sugar).
You can check out what cloudberry jam and other cloudberry products that we wholeheartedly recommend in our Recommended By Care Omnia: Cloudberries, if you want to experience the unique taste of this delicious not-a-berry berry.
Cloudberry Seed Oil Might Provide Health Benefits
Cloudberries are not only for consumption. Its valuable, vitamin E rich, seed oil is often used in the manufacture of cosmetic products.
The seed oil contains a lot of vitamin E, linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid.
Cloudberry seed oil also contain various antioxidants that may protect you from UV radiation and strengthen the cell membrane in the body.
These benefits have not yet been confirmed by rigorous research so it's too early for us to recommend any cloudberry seed oil products.
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Conclusion: The Major Problem We Have With Cloudberries!
I really think that this berry is special. I would like to be able to grow it myself though, in my own garden.
It would be nice to have easy access to the berries. But that's beyond my reach right now.
I'll still try to get out and pick the berries when they ripen.
I always have a jar of cloudberry jam in my refrigerator and we try to freeze as much as possible of the berries when we do manage to get some.
But, we seem to never have enough!
If you ever get the chance to pick cloudberries I recommend you pick as much as possible and then some!
Frequently asked questions about cloudberries
What do cloudberries taste like?
Cloudberries are both sweet and sour at the same time. Some describe some tartness in there as well. The experience of eating cloudberries doesn’t only come from their taste though. Their kernels and juicy flesh add extra dimensions to the experience of eating them. Tip! To get the most of your cloudberry jam we recommend you heat it just a bit before eating it.
What is cloudberry seed oil used for?
Cloudberry seed oil is often used in cosmetic products. Its high content of vitamin E, linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid together with antioxidants may provide some protection against UV radiation. The benefits of cloudberry seed oil has not yet been thoroughly researched.
What is a
It’s a term used in Scandinavia when the weather’s been just right for cloudberries. These years you get plenty of cloudberries out in the wild. Even a single night of frost during the flowering period can result in a significantly lower cloudberry yield.
What health benefits can cloudberries provide?
Cloudberries contain more than three times more vitamin C than oranges and also ellagic acid and omega-3. Studies show that cloudberries have a beneficial effect on the bowel function. Cloudberries may also reduce the risk of colon cancer and have therapeutic value in reducing cancer progression and metastasis.
Why are cloudberry products so expensive?
Cloudberries are extremely hard to cultivate. They grow mostly in marshes that makes it very hard, if not impossible, to use machines effectively to pick them so the picking is made by hand. Then there’s the fact that the yield of cloudberries can fluctuate wildly from one year to another. A frost night during the flowering period can have a detrimental effect on the entire years yield of cloudberries. Cloudberries are not called
The Gold Of The Forest only because of their color.