Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) is a rhizomatous herb native to alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forest, producing amber-coloured edible fruit similar to the raspberry or blackberry. English common names include bakeapple (in Newfoundland and Labrador), knotberry and knoutberry (in England), aqpik or low-bush salmonberry (in Alaska – not to be confused with true salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis), and averin or evron (in Scotland).
The cloudberry grows to 10–25 cm (4-10 inches) high. The leaves alternate between having five and seven soft, hand like lobes on straight, branchless stalks. After pollination, the white (sometimes reddish-tipped) flowers form raspberry-sized aggregate fruits. Encapsulating between 5 and 25 drupelets, each fruit is initially pale red, ripening into an amber colour in early autumn.[no_toc]
The ripe fruits are golden-yellow, soft and juicy, and are rich in vitamin C. When eaten fresh, cloudberries have a distinctive tart taste. When over-ripe, they have a creamy texture somewhat like yoghurt and a sweetened flavour. They are often made into jams, juices, tarts, and liqueurs.
In Finland, the berries are eaten with heated Leipäjuusto (a local cheese; the name translates to “bread-cheese”), as well as cream and sugar.
In Sweden, cloudberries and cloudberry jam are used as a topping for ice cream, pancakes, and waffles.
In Norway, they are often mixed with whipped cream and sugar to be served as a dessert called “Multekrem” (cloudberry cream), as a jam or as an ingredient in homemade ice cream. Cloudberry yoghurt—molte-/multeyoughurt—is a supermarket item in Norway.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, cloudberries are used to make “Bakeapple Pie” or jam.
Arctic Yup’ik mix the berries with seal oil, reindeer or caribou fat (which is diced and made fluffy with seal oil) and sugar to make “Eskimo Ice Cream” or Akutaq. The recipes vary by region. Along the Yukon and Kuskokwim River areas, white fish (pike) along with shortening and sugar are used. The berries are an important traditional food resource for the Yup’ik.
Due to its high vitamin C content, the berry is valued by both Nordic seafarers and Northern indigenous peoples. Its polyphenol content, including compounds, such as benzoic acid, appears to preserve food preparations of the berries naturally. Cloudberries can be preserved in their own juice without added sugar, if stored cool.
In Nordic countries, traditional liqueurs such as Lakkalikööri (Finland) are made of cloudberry, having a strong taste and high sugar content. Cloudberry is used as a spice for making akvavit. In north-eastern Quebec, a cloudberry liqueur known as chicoutai (aboriginal name) is made.
- In Australia : Cloudberry Jam can be purchased online from The Swedish Shop.
- Elsewhere : Try your closest IKEA store
In Europe, they grow in the Nordic countries and the Baltic states , and in Asia, across northern Russia east towards the Pacific Ocean. Small populations are also found further south, as a botanical vestige of the Ice Ages; it is found in Germany’s Weser and Elbe valleys, where it is under legal protection, and rarely in the moorlands of Britain and Ireland. In North America, cloudberries grow wild across most of northern Canada, Alaska, northern Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine; there is a historical record of a small population formerly occurring on Long Island east of New York City.
The cloudberry can withstand cold temperatures down to well below −40 °C (−40 °F), but is sensitive to salt and to dry conditions. It grows in bogs, marshes and wet meadows and requires sunny exposures in acidic ground (between 3.5 and 5 pH).
Immune System: The high content of vitamin C and vitamin A make cloudberries very beneficial to the immune system, as vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and acts as an antioxidant, which neutralises free radicals throughout the body. Vitamin A, similarly, has carotenoids that act as antioxidants, protecting the skin and eyes from breaking down and aging.
Circulation: Cloudberries are packed with iron, as well as many other beneficial minerals, but the iron content is specifically important for circulation, as it is a key component in red blood cell production. With enough iron in your diet, you reduce your chances of developing anaemia.
Heart Health: Cloudberries have a unique component that most fruits lack – omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The “good” form of cholesterol in cloudberries can actually help to balance your cholesterol levels and reduce the strain on your cardiovascular system.
Detoxify the Body: These unique arctic fruits have long been used as a diuretic to stimulate urination; this helps to keep the body free of dangerous toxins and eliminate excess water, salts, and even fat. This relieves pressure on the liver and kidneys as well when your body is regularly flushing itself clean.
Antioxidant Activity: Aside from the vitamin C in cloudberries, there are also certain phytosterols and carotenoids, not to mention the powerful effects of ellagic acid, which have been linked to reducing the occurrence of cancer, slowing the aging process, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and lowering the chances of contracting chronic diseases. Cloudberries also have specific chemicals that are antibacterial and antiviral in nature, making it a very comprehensive health fruit!
Digestion: The dietary fibre content found in cloudberries makes it ideal for optimizing the digestive system. Fibre helps to stimulate peristaltic motion, which reduces constipation, bloating, cramping, and more serious conditions, such as gastric ulcers or cancer. In addition, dietary fibre helps to regulate insulin receptors in the body, ensuring the regular release of sugar into the bloodstream, which will prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes. The phenolics in cloudberries also prevent gastrointestinal pathogens from developing.
Bone Health: Magnesium is a key component of bone health, as it increases the uptake potential of calcium by the body. This can help to prevent osteoporosis and extend the duration of your “active life”.