Posts Tagged ‘bilberry’

DID FOOD POISONING RUIN YOUR HOLIDAY?

When we travel our immune system comes under stress. Changing climate conditions and time zone changes are challenging but the major stress comes from different bacteria we come in contact in our new surroundings. Food especially can turn our stomachs upside down. There are only few things nastier than having to run in and out of toilet on your dream vacation. How can you protect yourself?

Aching stomach makes me bad bad company on a vacation. It feels like a bleached black and white photograph.

TWO SIMPLE THINGS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

We can easily pay attention to our own behavior but we can’t change the behavior of others. Everybody knows that good hygiene is the starting point against bacteria inflicted stomach problems. This is what our moms have been telling us since we were toddlers, don’t put that into your mouth, you can’t eat that, let’s wash those hands… So what are those two things you didn’t know yet? Believe it or not – tea and bilberries – and you can combine the two by drinking bilberry infusion.

BOILED WATER IS THE KEY

While on holiday we often pay attention to the place where food is made. We don’t go and buy whatsoever from every street vendor, but we do buy refreshing drinks from left and right. These sweet drinks are perfect home for bacteria as there is lots of sugar available and surrounding conditions tend to be quite warm (yes many of us like to have our holidays on skiing slopes).

If you limit yourself to only boiled drinks like coffee and tea your chances to catch a stomach problem on a holiday will greatly diminish. Boiling the water will kill bacteria and as tea leaves and coffee beans are dried they are safe from harm too. Tea especially is a drink that enjoys wonderful rejuvenating qualities and you will get a long-lasting boost from your cup so try to sit down and relax in a local tea room instead of a juice stand.

WHAT ABOUT THAT BILBERRY?

Bilberries calm the stomach and can ward off mild stomach problems like heartburn after a heavy meal. Combining boiled water and bilberry will result into a bilberry infusion free of nasty bacteria and a traveler’s self-help stomach medication via increased fluid intake and acidity soothing tendencies. No wonder your grand mom asked you to eat some bilberry soup when you had a stomach ache. While travelling I keep a little pouch of bilberry powder close at hand. It makes a nice drink and keeps me going.

Airplane image by Kitty Terwolbeck

This is my way of steeping a nice pot of bilberry powder based drink. To maximize the taste I use powder which is made of berries without any stems or leaves. After trying this drink for the first time one can naturally tune proportions according ones taste.

THIS IS HOW I DO IT

One tablespoonful of berry powder for one liter of water is a good starting point for a person who hasn’t done this before to give a basis for future infusions. We all have our taste preferences and I will not mind if you find it necessary to add some brown sugar into the mix.

Pour the boiled water on the powder and let it steep for a while. It is simple as that and you’ll learn more with every single infusion. For health enthusiast the temperature of the water is of importance as boiling hot water will destroy some nutrients in the bilberry powder. The best result can be achieved with cold brewing and using the infusion as a refreshing summer drink. But how about that  basic infusion?

You can make bilberry infusion by placing some bilberry powder into a cup and pouring hot water on or you can steep a whole pot.

THE RESULT

From the photo you can see the depth of the color. I tried to take a shot of a cup filled to the brim but it just didn’t work. Tone is so deep and dark that in a photo infusion looks like a pudding. So here you have a photo with nearly finished cup and another on side with just bilberry powder on the bottom.

NOTE

NO YIXING POTS WERE HARMED (USED) WHILE STEEPING THIS INFUSION AS MATERIAL FOR A BLOG POST.

Bilberry - our all-time-favorites from the wild forest

Jun 16

BILBERRY

The latin name reveals the nature of the berry. European blueberry is a low growing shrub that produces blue berries high in antioxidants. Bilberry is often mixed with the bush blueberry that comes from North America. Bilberry’s North American cousin stands much higher from ground and produces berries, which are much sweeter and much lower in antioxidants than the European cousin.

Freshly picked bilberries in a box after a quick wash.

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Bilberry belongs to the same berry family as lingon berries, bog bilberries and cranberries. Usually we call it blueberry, and even a toddler knows why. Go and watch how kids swiftly combine clean clothes with blueberry pie. Blueberries can be and are used in many different ways for example in blueberry teas.

WHERE DO BLUEBERRIES GROW? Just like youngsters pranks, bilberry doesnt thrive in excess sunlight. Young and lush forests are best areas to find these fresh and vitamin packed treats. Nutritious bilberry is valued food source for many animals like bears and various birds, which in exchange spread it efficiently.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN BLUEBERRY FLOWERS? Bilberries flower during late spring or early summer with the help of insects. Nighttime frosts can damage these delicate, red and sometimes white flowers. If this happens, well, it means fewer blueberry pies in the autumn.

WHEN CAN YOU PICK BLUEBERRIES? When it is a good time to go pick bilberries then? Surprisingly early, the first month for bilberries to ripe is July and season lasts until late September.

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