Have you always wondered which fruits you can best combine with our various porridges , granloas and muesli? Here you can find out the most important facts about cowberries and what health benefits they have.
With our personal gardening tips, you’ll soon be able to admire your own cowberry bush in the garden and, of course, enjoy the berries with your healthy breakfast.
The cranberry (Vaccinium vitis idaea) belongs to the heather family (Ericaceae) and to the blueberry genus. They are known by the popular names cranberries, riffle berries or foxberries.
The bilberry (cowberry) as a related fruit is mainly collected in the wild. The cranberries offered in the trade are selected forms, which are larger and have a richer fruit set than the wild fruits.
Where do cowberries grow?
The fruit cowberry grows as an erect to creeping dwarf shrub and can reach an average height of 30 centimetres.
The evergreen dwarf shrubs grow in dwarf shrub heaths of alpine pastures, but also in sparse and dry forests. They are mainly found in pine forests. The wild cowberry (cranberry) prefers partial shade and spruce and pine needles as soil.
With a little talent, however, the cowberry will also grow well in your garden. To help the cowberry grow in your garden, read our tips further down in this article.
Are cowberries and cranberries the same thing?
It is not uncommon for people to think that cranberry (Vaccinium vitis idaea) is the German translation of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon). In terms of taste, the two fruits are very similar. Both the cranberry and the lingonberry have a sour taste due to the high content of fruit acid (benzoic acid, ascorbic acid, salicylic acid).
There are also similarities in the ingredients of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as in the dietary fibres, potassium and iron contained in the berries.
Although the two types of berries are closely related, they differ in some respects. Cranberries grow to about the size of cherries, whereas cranberries can only grow to the size of peas. Although both plants are heathers, the cranberry plant grows along the ground and the cranberry bush grows upright.
When are cowberries ripe for harvesting?
The cowerry leaves are ready for picking in May or August. These are usually dried in partial shade for further processing, for example into tea. The berries are ripe on average between July and September, depending on the warmth of the summer. They must be bright red before they are ripe.
The health benefits of cowberries
Cowberries are not only one of the best-known superfoods, but they offer many health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, so the fruit should become a regular part of your diet.
The cowberry as a medicinal plant
The healthy ingredients are not only found in the berries, but also in the leaves. First and foremost, cranberries are used as a medicinal plant for the following diseases because of their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic effects:
Urinary tract infections
Kidney pelvic inflammations
The juice from the cowberry or a tea made from the leaves of the cowberry plant can also lower cholesterol levels and cleanse the blood vessels. Thanks to the abundant antioxidants they contain, the berries stimulate cell renewal in the body and can also be used as an anti-ageing agent.
Recipe for a cowberry tea
Pour 250ml of boiling water over a heaped teaspoon of cowberry leaves (without the flowers), steep for five minutes and enjoy. The tea made from the cranberry leaves has a good taste and is particularly healthy due to the ingredients.
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend well until you get a creamy consistency.
Then pour the smoothie into a bowl.
You can refine the smoothie bowl with toppings of your choice.
The berries not only taste delicious, but also contain quite a few good vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin B and also vitamin A. They also contain the minerals potassium, potassium phosphate and magnesium. They also contain the minerals potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
What is the best way to enjoy cowberries?
With their organic acidity, cowberries are only suitable for eating raw to a limited extent. The sour cranberries taste even better processed as jam or compote.
Our secret tip is to combine cowberries with our delicious Verival porridges or in gluten-free muesli from Verival. This makes your healthy breakfast taste even better. Of course, you can combine cowberries with a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants or blueberries.
How do I store cowberries properly?
Cowberries are sensitive and go bad very quickly. Therefore, cowberries should be processed as fresh as possible. For short-term storage, we recommend that you store the cowberries in the refrigerator. Carefully sort out the damaged fruits beforehand, otherwise they will go mouldy very quickly.
Can I grow cowberries at home?
Sure, because fresh cowberries from your own garden are known to taste best. Cowberries usually grow wild in the mountains. But if you have a suitable spot in your garden, the cowberry will grow there too.
The cowberries should be planted in a sunny to slightly semi-shaded spot in the garden. You should also make sure that the soil has a pH value of 5 to 6 so that the bushes can thrive properly.
To get the right pH value, mix some needle litter or leaf compost into the planting hole. The time for planting cowberry seedlings is in spring. Seeds are planted already in autumn.
Our cowberry care tips: Keep a planting distance of 40 – 50cm. Keep the cowberry bushes weed-free so that the soil remains loose. Water abundantly during dry periods.
Since cowberries and blueberries have the same requirements for soil and location in the garden, it is recommended to plant blueberries at the same time. But be careful: The bushes do not bear fruit in the first two years after planting. From the 3rd year onwards, however, they will bear fruit twice a year.
The first cowberry harvest is in June or July, but it is somewhat smaller.
The second, larger cowberry harvest is in September or October. We look forward to you tasting your own cowberries soon together with our porridges, muesli or other products.
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