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Whinberry Jam

July 15, 2009


Before I moved to Wales I’d never heard of whinberries but I’ve recently learned that they’re a type of bilberry that grows wild on the mountain sides around here. They’re also very tasty! Depending on where you live, you might know them as Bilberries or Whortleberries instead. If you’ve not encountered them before, they’re related to blueberries and have some similarities – although they’re smaller and I think they have a richer taste which reminds me a little of elderberry wine. A traditional way to use them in Wales is to make Whinberry Tart but, seeing as my pastry making skills leave a lot to be desired, I decided to make jam instead. Here’s my recipe:

Whinberry Jam

makes approx. 3 medium size jars

  • 650g whinberries
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

First wash the berries, picking out any bits of stalk and discarding any over-ripe berries. Place the fruit in a pan over a low heat and gently crush the berries to release some juice. Add the lemon juice then simmer gently until the fruit is soft and squishy but with some still retaining their shape. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. The sugar will dissolve quicker if you’ve warmed it in a low oven beforehand. Once all the sugar has dissolved, bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Test for set and, when ready,  pour into warm, sterilized jars and seal.


I’m quite taken with these little berries and hope to experiment with some more recipes in the next few weeks. As the season is fairly short, I’m thinking of bottling some or perhaps making whinberry muffins which can be frozen. If anyone has some recipes they’d like to share, please do!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    July 15, 2009 11:43 am

    Where i come from ( the S Wales Valleys) we call them wimberries! I have fond memories of picking them and going home covered iin juice, but with not many for mam’s pie! Quite often I was banned from the expeditions!

    • July 15, 2009 4:11 pm

      my daughter is like that with the peas in the garden – few actually make it indoors!

  2. July 15, 2009 4:10 pm

    oh that looks just scrumptious

  3. July 15, 2009 9:29 pm

    we have winberries too – on Dartmoor – also heard them called ‘blaeberries’

  4. July 16, 2009 1:14 pm

    I too have never heard of whinberries though we do have blueberries by the plenty. I wonder if I could just substiture them?

    Nina x

    • Anna permalink
      September 28, 2009 11:52 pm

      This is the same kind of berry: there wild ones (10 to 15 sm height) and cuclturized (bushes up to 1 meter) named as winberries, blueberries, etc.. Mind that they are completely different from black currant though same size of the bush.

      The best way to preserve blueberries (as I’m used to call them) is a 5 min jam as my mom calls it. You boil it with half amount of sugar 5 minutes, pour to jars and … that’s all. GOod luck to eevryone.

      I know tehm from north russia, but they grow them in Israel where I now live too.

  5. July 16, 2009 5:03 pm

    Never heard of whinberries, but then I live in the states. That’s a beautiful jar of jam!

  6. Karen permalink
    July 17, 2009 4:52 pm

    Never heard of them either but they look divine….especially that jam. Enjoy!

  7. July 17, 2009 8:00 pm

    Picking that many must have taken ages! They are bilberries to me but I’ve never picked enough to make jam, just snacked on them while out walking.

  8. Andrew permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:22 am

    One fo the few places in the UK that sells it is Goetre Farm. Have ordered form them in the past and theirs is a real treat! Well worth a look.

  9. Yvonne permalink
    August 13, 2010 5:11 pm

    Over the past 2 days I have picked 10lbs of whinberries. My husband loves whinberry jam, tarts and apple and whinberry pies, as you can see…. I am going to be very busy. I may, if i am lucky….get a little slice of pie!!

  10. Brychan permalink
    July 18, 2011 4:22 pm

    Hello Rebecca,

    i have just made jam for the first time using your recipe. I only had enough to half fill a 2nd jar therefore half that jar is air !! will that effect the safety of the jam to eat ? will it still set OK and keep for a long time as jam is supposed to ?

  11. Birdie permalink
    September 20, 2011 9:11 am

    Re the comment above about half filled jars, I personnally always treat them as opened jars, keep in the fridge and get on and use it first. I have been making jam and chutneys for a couple of years now and this method has never failed me.

    Hope this helps.

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