Everyone knows what a blueberry is, right? But what you might be surprised that there are >30 different types of blueberries worldwide, each with their own flavor, color, and most importantly, nutritional values. In the past decade, blueberries became easily available to consumers, something that tripled blueberry consumption worldwide. No wonder people love blueberries, they are tasty, and there are endless ways to enjoy them. But how many know the difference between blueberry and bilberry?
Blueberries that you find in grocery stores and food markets are usually cultivated in farms around the world. The top countries producing cultivated blueberries are the USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, and Mexico. On the contrary, bilberries are blueberries’ exotic European cousins that grow wild in the Nordic forests. Bilberries, also known as European wild blueberries, are part of the same plant family as blueberries but are usually smaller in size, darker in color, and full of surprises. So, if you like blueberries, you will love bilberries!
What are the main differences between blueberries and bilberries?
1. Nutritional value & health benefits
Let’s start with the most important! You may have heard that blueberries are super healthy thanks to their high content in antioxidants, natural fibers, and vitamins. Guess what? Bilberries have about 4x more antioxidants than blueberries! In fact, several scientific studies showed that bilberries have unique health benefits (e.g., protect against cancer, aging, and heart disease), mainly due to their high levels of antioxidants (e.g., anthocyanins).
In addition, bilberries are a rich source of natural fibers, which helps maintain a healthy bowel, lowers cholesterol, and control blood sugar levels that reduce your risk for diabetes. Lastly, bilberries contain high amounts of vitamins (such as vitamins A, C, D, and K). Studies found that higher regular consumption of bilberries had a positive impact on vision and the overall health of the eyes. They are truly a superfood of nature.
For these reasons, bilberry powder is a great alternative to various blueberry extracts and blueberry supplements. Check out our blog post about the process of how bilberry powder is made, to learn more about why bilberry powder is a healthier and more nutrient-rich alternative to the blueberry extracts and blueberry supplements.
Once you have tried bilberries, you will think that cultivated blueberries don’t taste like anything. Bilberries have a more intense, fruity, sweet, and tangy flavor. This makes them the perfect berries for baking, smoothies, cooking, etc.
Color, oh, the color! It is actually a paradox that cultivated blueberries are called “blue” berries. The only “blue” in them is the skin. From the inside, their flesh is white, light green, or yellow. Bilberries, on the other hand, have a dark blue-purple color inside out. You can read more about the difference in our blog post What color are blueberries, but in summary: this difference is explained by the fact that bilberries have a much higher content of anthocyanins (antioxidants) than cultivated blueberries; this antioxidant is the compound that gives this dark blue-purple color to bilberries. In fact, a small amount of bilberries is enough to color your mouth, yogurt, smoothies, pastries, even your clothes dark blue.
We, at Arctic Flavors, are committed to making this healthy delicacy available to you by picking and packaging the best quality of wild blueberries (aka bilberries) from the cleanest forests of Finland. To make this possible, we are proudly collaborating with local people who pick the freshest bilberries, immediately freeze-dried them to maintain their incredible characteristics, and package them for you.
You can explore the Arctic Flavors wild bilberry powder here. A spoonful of this superfood powder equals a handful of fresh wild bilberries – packed with antioxidants and intense in beautiful dark blue color! Our powder is made of 100% fresh berries from Finland – no preservatives, sugar, or colorants added.
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