Table of content A-Z




Synonyme: Blaubeere, Waldheidelbeere, Schwarzbeere, Bickbeere, Besinge

botanisch: vaccinium myrtillus

englisch: bilberry, whortleberry, blueberry, black huckleberry



Verfügbar sind Wald- und Kulturheidelbeeren, die sich in ihrer Größe und der Farbe ihres Fleisches und Saftes unterscheiden. In diesem Beitrag bekommen Sie Informationen zur Wildheidelbeere. Interessieren Sie sich für die Kulturform, so lesen Sie bitte auch unter Kulturheidelbeere.

Bilberries are also known as blueberries. There are forest bilberries and cultivated bilberries, which differ in their size and in the colour of their pulp and juice. This chapter is about the forest bilberry. For information about the cultivated form, please go to the chapter on the blueberry or garden huckleberry. The bilberry is native to Eurasia and North America, where it grows in forests and on heaths or moors. The main areas for collecting them in Germany are the Upper Palatinate and the Bavarian Forest. Imports - predominantly from Poland or other countries with low wages for pickers - supplement the supply on the German market.



Bilberries are available from June until September. They are in greatest supply in July and August, when domestic bilberries from Germany are also sold.


Appearance, taste, characteristics

Bilberries are the size of peas and are blue to violet. Depending on the variety, they are covered with a more or less marked waxy film. The pulp contains numerous small seeds. Bilberries have an unmistakable, intensive aroma; they taste sweet-sour and are very juicy. If you eat bilberries, you will notice that the dark-red juice stains.


Bilberries are a wild fruit and cannot be cultivated. The blueberry or garden huckleberry is the cultivated plant, of which both the bush and the fruits are larger than those of the bilberry. However, the cultivated form cannot match the bilberry for taste and aroma.


The bilberry should not be confused with the very similar bog bilberry, which is somewhat larger and very blue; its juice does not stain and its flavour is inferior. In no case may it be mixed with bilberries or sold as such.


A relative of the bilberry that we know is the species Vaccinium angustifolium, the lowbush blueberry, native to Maine (USA) and to eastern Canada. The fruits of the wild-growing, 15-25 cm high bush are of the same importance there as the garden huckleberry does for us. To distinguish them, they are called wild blueberries. In order to promote their growth, the bushes are cut down every 2 years to increase the formation of fruit-bearing shoots.



Bilberries are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain a large amount of fibre, as well as the secondary plant substance anthocyanin, which is responsible for the blue-to-violet colour of the skin.


100 g contain:



Bilberries, fresh

Bilberries, preserved

Energy (kcal)



Water (g)



Protein (g)



Fat (g)



Carbohydrates (g)



Fibre (g)



Vitamin C (mg)



Vitamin A (RE) (µg)



Folic acid (µg)



Potassium (mg)



Sodium (mg)



Calcium (mg)



Magnesium (mg)



Iron (mg)



*n.a.: no data available

Note: As this is a natural product, and as the information is taken from various sources and therefore from different analyses, there may be fluctuations in the nutritional facts. The minerals in particular may fluctuate, since the plant takes these from the soil, the composition of which itself can vary. Its mineral content is influenced, for instance, by fertilization. The footnotes are explained here .


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Bilberries are very sensitive and should therefore be packaged very carefully. It is best to eat them right away, as they lose their aroma quickly and tend to mould easily. They can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Bilberries are popular eaten raw, especially with cream, yoghurt, milk or curd cheese.

The berries must be carefully sorted before they are eaten. It is best to wash the fruits in a bowl filled with water; this makes it easy to remove the foreign matter that swims to the top, such as stems.


Bilberries are very popular as a cake topping, and the blueberry muffins - muffins with bilberries baked into them - which originated in America are no longer a rarity in Germany. Moreover, you can make a delicious compote or juice from bilberries. They are appreciated by the food industry as well: in addition to juice, wine or cordial, they are often added to yoghurt, breakfast cereal, ice cream and milkshakes.


Bilberries freeze well. It is best to lay them loosely on a tray and pre-freeze them, and then to store them in freezer boxes. The deep-frozen produce that is sold consists almost exclusively of cultivated blueberries.


Dried bilberries are believed to be a home remedy for diarrhoea.


Seasoning tip

Sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves all taste good with bilberries.





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