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What Do Cloudberries Taste Like?

A pile of fresh cloudberries on a white background

Cloudberries are a berry fruit that look like a smaller version of raspberries with vibrant yellow-orange skin. They require extremely cold conditions to grow so you will mostly find them in countries like Russia, Alaska, Canada, and Norway. This scarcity makes them a sought-after ingredient that comes at a high price.

In the United States and most other parts of the world, cloudberries are rare. If you’ve got the opportunity to try this fruit, you may be wondering what do cloudberries taste like? Are they worth your money? We’ve created this guide to give readers a better understanding of what these elusive fruits have to offer.

What does a cloudberry taste like?

Cloudberries are a unique tasting fruit that are a combination of slightly sweet and sour in one mouthful. You’ll get hints of red currant and raspberry but there’s also a slightly vegetal undertone. They are similar to other wild berries but have relatively large seeds compared to raspberries or blackberries. Cloudberries aren’t overly sweet and their bitter flavor, while unmissable, is much less dominant than lingonberries or Osage oranges.

The texture of a freshly picked cloudberry is firm and after biting through the skin you are greeted with juice that has a subtle floral aroma. Once the fruit overripens, they become sweeter with a texture that’s creamy and a little like yogurt.

Did you know? Cloudberries grow in the wild and can’t be farmed. When in season, picking in Scandanavia can become highly competitive amongst locals; people tend to pick the fruit before they are fully ripe to avoid someone else coming and taking their crop.

Are cloudberries worth eating?

Fresh cloudberries are a rarity away from the Arctic tundra and most of us will have to resign to eating the jam, which is more common. If you ever get the chance to try this fruit, without paying a fortune, then we definitely recommend it. We can’t help thinking though, that if cloudberries were as common as apples then few people would be interested in them. Yes, they have a unique taste – but the fruit doesn’t compare with an organic raspberry or blackberry. Also, the seeds are oversized for such a small fruit which makes them a little unpleasant. Like some fancy restaurants, you could remove the pips, but this seems like a lot of painstaking work.

Many Scandinavians boil the fruit into jam which makes sense. The slightly tart flavor would pair nicely with the addition of sugar. Straining out those pesky seeds would have to be a part of the process?

Culinary uses

  • The cloudberry is a food that can be eaten on its own. Although some fancy restaurants will remove the seeds for a more enjoyable eating experience, most people eat them as they are.
  • The majority of cloudberries are made into jam which is prized for its ruby amber color and balanced flavor.
  • Sauces, compotes, purees, and vinaigrettes are popular uses.
  • Cloudberries are excellent in desserts such as pies, tarts, sorbet, and ice cream.
  • Baked goods like muffins and bread benefit from the addition of these berries.
  • They can be pressed for juice or used as an ingredient for making beer and other liqueurs.

What flavors pair with cloudberries?

The cloudberry goes well with other fruit like black currants, strawberries, apples, guavas, and grapes. Fruits with plenty of sweetness are especially good.

The tart, acidic flavors of cloudberries will balance heavy meat dishes providing some cut through. Although we haven’t tried it, a sticky dipping sauce made from these berries would taste delicious with Peking duck or tempura.

Interesting reading:
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Cloudberries are a nutritious food with a range of health benefits. A 3½ oz serving of these berries provides 158mg of vitamin C and 8.6mcg of vitamin K1. They also contain useful amounts of magnesium, zinc, and beta carotene. These fruits are believed to assist with strengthening bones, detoxifying, and fighting anemia.

7 fast facts about cloudberries

  1. Cloudberries are herbaceous perennials from the Rosaceae family; their scientific name is Rubus chamaemorus.
  2. Alternative names include yellowberry, bakeapple, knotberry, nordic berry, knoutberry, and averin.
  3. The plants require swampy, acidic soil in cold regions to grow and are very difficult to farm commercially.
  4. Unripened fruits are initially white and then transforms into an orange color before finally turning golden yellow.
  5. The fruit is very delicate so they must be picked by hand rather than using automated picking tools.
  6. Avoid washing cloudberries as they’re too delicate and will break apart. They are best used immediately but can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days if needed.
  7. Scandinavians often store cloudberries frozen for later use.

Summing up

The cloudberry is a rare fruit that requires very strict conditions to grow. Although it is currently only grown in the wild, farmers are making a concerted effort to try and grow them commercially. Undoubtedly, this will increase supply and reduce their exorbitant price.

Cloudberries look a lot like other wild berries but they have bigger seeds inside them. They have a sweet-sour taste and are quite juicy, which makes them an excellent ingredient for converting into jam.

Whether you think these fruits can justify their high price tag will come down to your personal preference. As with everything in life, it’s all about supply and demand. There simply aren’t enough cloudberries in this world, which pushes the price up very high. Does this price make cloudberries better than most other fruit? We don’t think so. Given the choice between a fresh punnet of raspberries or cloudberries, we’d take the first option without hesitation.

Are you considering trying cloudberry jam or have you discovered the fresh fruit? Please let us know in the comments below.