Ark of taste
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Vattkrusbär is a preserved product made from gooseberries.

Gooseberries were a mainstay of the Swedish countryside from 1700 until the end of World War II. Easy to manage, gooseberry hedges were used to separate properties and they provided passers-by with fruits to forage. Many Swedish authors of the 19th century nicknamed gooseberries “the grape of the north.” In the early 1900s, Swedish pomologist Alexandra Smirnoff catalogued many gooseberry varieties present in Sweden.

Gooseberries are eaten fresh or made into preserves or wine and, in the spring, vattkrusbär is made with freshly harvested gooseberries and water. The berries are picked before they completely mature, while still a bit sour, and are placed in flasks or glass jars. Vattkrusbär does not contain added sugar, as the fruits already have a high sugar content. Vattkrusbär is aged for a minimum of a month before it can be consumed.

Vattkrusbär was popular in rural communties because it allowed families to preserve gooseberries at home. References to vattkrusbär have been found in an official agricultural document from 1757, and in one of Charles Emil Hagdahl’s gastronomy books. Today, the consumption of gooseberry has drastically declined, and vattkrusbär is prepared mainly for personal consumption. It is possible to find small quantities of vattkrusbär at Swedish farmers’ markets.

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Stockholms län

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Martin Ragnar