These are dry black berries very similar to blueberry in taste and appearance. They are used as natural food dye, in making pie and jelly. The Native Americans use them to heal sore eyes. They have a low vitamin content and high water content.
Black crowberries are grown in colder climates including Alaska, across the Yukon Territory and Canada to Labrador, Newfoundland, and Greenland. Black crowberry is also widely distributed throughout Northern Europe. These small black berries are filled with antioxidants, manganese, copper, and vitamin C—they’re packed with nutrients.
Choose firm, plump, dry crowberries that are dusty blue to black in color and uniform in size.Refrigerate crowberries for 10 to 14 days in the original container.
Nutrition Benefits of Black Crowberries
Low in fat, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, and an excellent source of manganese, copper, and vitamin C Although the crowberry provides the third largest harvest of all berries (after blueberries and lingonberries) it is almost unknown outside the arctic regions. In the Nordic countries the use of wild berries has long traditions in home cooking as well as for therapeutic purposes.
Crowberry is an evergreen shrub native to cool regions of North America, Asia, and Europe. In southern hemisphere it is found on Falkland islands. The fruits are black round berries.
It is interesting to note that crowberry is fighting other species by producing a toxin. Crowberry leaves have small glands that produce batatasin III. The leaves live two to four years, and when they die and end up on the ground where they break down slowly, and continues to leak its water-soluble toxin. The toxin blocks other species to grow what makes free living space to the crowberries.
Crowberry is not edible raw unless as a replacement for water. Crowberry has a taste that is slightly acidic and bitter. The berry contains tannins what makes its taste unpleasant.
It is typically used cooked, seldom fresh. The berries have been used as raw material for juice, jelly, wine and sweets. Crowberries are eaten in akutaq, Eskimo’s ice cream.
Crowberries are widely used in folk medicine for treating epilepsy, paralysis, nervous disorders and anthrax. In Russia a medicine for treating epilepsy (Empetrin) is produced.
Crowberries have astringent and diuretic effect.
Crowberry is a rich (460 mg / 100 g berries) source of anthocyans. The increased interest in flavonoids and other phenolics as health-benefiting compounds can lead to an increased usage of the crowberries.
Crowberries are a source of botanicals for preparation of cosmetic products.
Crowberry is not an economic important crop. The crowberry anthocyans are potential source of natural colorants but largely unused. Due to the toughness of the crowberry plant, it has been used as pan scrubbers and brooms.
The ability of natural dyes to color textiles has been known since ancient times. Crowberries are used as natural dyes for centuries. Old recipes from Swedish Lapland proposed several different crowberry treatments and cooking times to produce different shades of green, yellow and brown. Both the berries and the plant were used for dying the textile.
Blueberries: They are dark-blue or purple in color. They are used in jams, purée, juice, pies, and muffins. They contain high levels of antioxidants and can help prevent many diseases, like stomach ailments, heart degeneration, and heart diseases.
Huckleberries: These are small round berries that look and taste similar to blueberries. They come in colors ranging from deep crimson to eggplant purple. They are used to make excellent jams, pies, syrups, and preservatives.
Bilberries: Bilberries are edible berries that are closely related to blueberries and huckleberries. They are nearly black in color with a slight hue of purple. The pulp is red or purple in color and can stain your fingers while eating the raw fruit. They are very difficult to cultivate and fruits are generally collected from the wild. They are used in different jams and dishes or eaten raw.