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The Bilberry shrub grows up to 20 inches (1/2 metre) tall. It needs another Bilberry bush to cross-pollinate.

The very small berries are tarter than blueberries.

Cooking Tips

Bilberries can be used in baked goods, jams, jellies and in wine.

Remove all stalks and leaves, rinse and drain.


Bilberries are reputed to improve sight, though there may no be actual basis for this belief. The belief is attributed to RAF (Royal Air Force) pilots during the Second World War, but there's no documented reference to RAF pilots ever believing this. The US Navy funded studies in 1999, but were unable to find any sight-advantages as a result of eating Bilberries. Any studies done have actually disproved any eye benefit whatsoever, in any way, shape or form. Nevertheless, many seem to assume that facts shouldn't get in the way of a good marketing myth.

Storage Hints

Store refrigerated Bilberries and use within 2 to 3 days.

History Notes

Bilberries are native to Europe, including the UK. Settlers from England in America, on seeing blueberries, thought at first that they were a larger form of Bilberries.

Literature & Lore

"The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries; The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot..."

-- From "On Being Human" by C.S. Lewis (1893-1963.)


Açaí Berries; Akala Berries; Aronia Berries; Baba Berries; Barberries; Berries; Bilberries; Black Currants; Black Gooseberries; Blueberries; Buffalo Currants; Bumbleberries; Cape Gooseberries; Cloudberries; Cranberries; Devil Spits Day; Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show; Elderberries; Garden Huckleberries; Gooseberries; Haw Flakes; Hawthorne Berries; Huckleberry; Hudson Bay Currants; Jostaberries; Lingonberries; Mulberries; Otaheite Gooseberry; Raspberries; Red Currants; Saskatoon Berries; Sea Buckthorn; Serendipity Berries; Strawberries; Sunberries; Tayberries; Thimbleberries; Ugni; Waimate Berries; White Currants; Wineberries; Wonderberries; Worcesterberries

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Also called:

Blaeberries; Hurtleberry; Whinberry; Whortleberry; Vaccinium myrtillus (Scientific Name); Myrtilles (French); Blauberre (German)


Oulton, Randal. "Bilberries." CooksInfo.com. Published 05 April 2004; revised 02 December 2007. Web. Accessed 06/18/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/bilberries>.

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