These tiny dark bluish purple summer berries are similar in appearance to small blueberries and are known as blaeberries in Scotland and whortleberries in north America. They are the fruit of a low shrub which grows abundantly on heaths and moors in northern Europe and north America. Bilberries have quite a tangy flavour when raw and can be used in place of blueberries in recipes.
Uses: Use to make jam or jelly or serve cooked in tarts, pies or summer pudding. To add a tang to mixed summer fruit recipes mix a few raw bilberries with sweet summer berries such as strawberries or raspberries. Add cooked bilberries to Greek yogurt and crushed meringues for a quick dessert or layer with crushed ginger biscuits and fromage frais in tall stemmed glasses.
To store: Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or until the best before date.
To prepare: Remove any stalks or leaves and wash thoroughly before use.
To cook: To cook bilberries add little cold water and 50g caster sugar per 450g of fruit, simmer gently until just tender.