Finland, Land of a Thousand Lakes. And clean forests filled with wild berries! How to include this "new" superfood in our lives? And where to begin?
Over 80% of Finland is covered with forests, which belong almost entirely to the large area of the boreal coniferous forest, humid and cool. These forests are pristine and fruitful, with clean water, clean soil, and clean air available.
In the Finnish forests hide one of the world's best-kept secrets; wild berries. They are our planet's true superfoods.
The long summer days and cool temperature increase the aromaticity and pigments of wild berries. The unique aroma and the colours are produced by flavonoids and other polyphenols. The antioxidising efficiency of berries is greater than that of other plants.
Also, their taste is fabulous. Their aromatic and nutritional qualities are widely proven: there is a very big difference in flavors and vitamins, compared to berries and fruits grown further south.
According to studies by the University of Eastern Finland, more than 500 million kilograms of berries mature each year in Finnish forests. Of them, about 35-45 million kilograms are collected for the use of households and other 15-18 million kilograms for sale.
The Midnight Sun
In Northern Finland, where nature is particularly wild and where humans are scarce, the arctic midnight sun ripens wild berries including blueberries and lingonberries.
This sun, which never ceases to shine in summer, all night long, provides Finnish berries and fruits with an exceptional level of natural sugars. Thus, the berries picked in Lapland are more tasty and aromatic than the berries that grow elsewhere. They are also richer in vitamins and dietary fibres because the climatic conditions of the far north give higher levels in antioxidants and in anthocyanins.
Most Popular Finnish Berries
In Finland, there exist about 50 different kinds of berry plants, of which over half have edible berries. Listed below are some of the most commonly used berries in Finnish cooking and recipes.
Blueberry / bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
Blueberries grow in different types of forests all over Finland from the capital city Helsinki in the south all the way to Lapland in the far north. The months of July and August are the best to find wild blueberries.
In terms of the volume picked, bilberry is one of the most important fruits in Finland, even though the harvest is prone to fluctuate significantly.
Bilberries contain high levels of vitamins A, B, and C and of manganese, calcium and flavonoids. They lower blood sugar levels and are good for the eyes and stomach.
Organic Wild Blueberry Powder is very versatile to make pastries, pies and desserts or it can be easily added in yogurt, porridge or smoothies.
Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
Every September Finnish forests turn red with lingonberries. The berry is known as the red gold of the Nordic forests, and with good reason; lingonberry is abundant, easy to pick and incredibly nutritious.
Lingonberries contain large quantities of fruit acids, which give them a sharp taste. Already long before freezers were invented, they were an important source of vitamins and other nutrients all year round.
Lingonberries can be found in our Organic Red Berries Powder Mix which includes also redcurrants and cranberries. Helpful in strengthening the immune system, red berries are great for digestion as well as maintaining healthy skin and eyes.
The Organic Red Berries Powder Mix can be used in various ways to make pastries and various other desserts, or be used in porridge or in a sauce for red meat.
Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus)
Cloudberry is the most valued Finnish forest berry and the most expensive to buy. Cloudberries grow best on boggy terrains in northern Finland, often in places that are well hidden and difficult to reach. If someone finds a good spot with lots of berries, it remains a well-kept secret.
Cloudberry is related to raspberry but its plants don't grow as high. The berries are yellowish and have a sweet taste. They also have rather large, hard seeds, which may take a bit of getting used to.
In Finland cloudberries are regarded as a delicacy to be served on special occasions.
In addition to humans, also Finnish bears enjoy this juicy fruit in autumn. They take the whole berries in their mouth but often simply suck the juice from ripe berries so that only a dry fruit remains in the berry plant.
Cloudberry is also part of our Organic Yellow Berries Powder Mix which includes also rose hips and sea buckthorn. Extremely rich in vitamin C, the Organic Yellow Berries Powder Mix will boost your energy levels for the day and help your body to fight chronic diseases.
Happy Life in Harmony with Nature
Finnish life happens in harmony with nature and the Finnish nature is dramatic. It's a fantastic country with four amazing seasons.
The nature in Finland is beautiful with clean air, pure water, glorious colours on the horizon and fresh fruits in the forests.
At Harctic we are proud to bring you a taste of the Finnish nature on your plate. Make sure you grab our best recipes to inspire you to boost your health naturally!