In Finland, late July and August are very busy months if you are into picking berries and cooking with mushrooms for example. It´s simply great that one can just head out there and harvest and preserve all the tasty wild foods of the season! This is the time when first mushrooms can be found here in Hossa and bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) begin to ripen! Spending a day out in the wild, hiking, picking wild foods and using them as part of your daily meal doesn´t sound too bad does it? Summer is the time when to travel here if you wish to experience this wonderful activity for yourself! Here´s a report about what´s been going down here in Hossa recently.
Unfortunately the cloudberry harvest was almost completely lost this year because of couple of frosty nights in mid June. It´s a pity because they are one the healthiest berries around; they contain three to four times more Vitamin C than oranges for example. Cloudberries (Rubus chamaemorus) are extremely vulnerable when they are blooming and sudden changes in weather conditions like heavy rain, blowing wind and cold temperatures can easily cause the failure of pollination.
Luckily wild raspberries (Rubus idaeus) have managed very well this year so I´ve picked them instead. Thorny stems and stinging nettles growing next to the raspberry bushes slow down the picking but the hard effort is rewarded generously as the bucket is finally full. Fortunately picking bilberries is much faster as you can use a small picker that is made for the purpose.
Here in Hossa, these highly promoted super healthy and eco-friendly foods are a normal part of the local way of life, it´s just living with the seasonal variation of nature. With a little bit of effort you easily manage to collect and pick the ingredients needed for a meal but if you work a bit harder and preserve these delicacies by different methods, you get to enjoy the pure and healthy natural flavours all through the year!
The mushroom season is starting and I found the first ones over three weeks ago already, Leccinum vulpinum were the first ones that started to appear and they were followed by different types of mushrooms belonging to the Russula family. This summers´ warm weather has helped the vegetative mycelial growth but more rainfall is still needed for a good harvest. Last Thursday I found to my surprise, the first Boletus edulis, one of those mushrooms with the most cuisinal value: thousands of kilos of these are taken from Finland to Italy each year. They require lower temperatures to start popping up in great numbers so they are still to be expected. This early one I found was big enough to make a meal for one.
Inspired by the beginning of the mushroom season, my sister and I had a little experimental cooking afternoon the other day. We used the last dried Boletus pinophiluses picked and preserved last autumn and added some freshly picked mushrooms too. For starters we made mushroom soup and ryebread croutons and the main dish was mashed potatoes and mushroom meatballs from minced reindeer meat. Pickels, spring onions and lingonberry jam (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) complemented the overall.
We were happy with the result, a delicious yet simple meal made from top quality ingredients!
And to all you of You who have the chance to go foraging at the moment, head outside and those who don´t, travel to Hossa during this time of year! I´m more than happy to take you on a tour in the wild and help you get your hands on some wild foods! 🙂