Forest is a part of Finnish people’s life. Finn is born in the forest, grow up with the forest and earn their living from the forest. In the summer-autumn time, Finn leaves the hustle and bustle city life, coming back to their summer cottage in the middle of the wood to enjoy their hobby- berry picking. The time between summer- autumn is known as the best time for berry picking. This is some basic you should know before starting your own berry harvesting in the Finnish forest.
There are about 50 species of berries growing in the pine forest along the country, however, only 37 of them are edible. Some species are poisonous, that’s why it is better for the first time visitor to go on a berry picking-up with an expert. The golden rule to avoid picking the wrong one is that if you see a new berry or mushroom apart from what you have known, leave it alone and do not eat it.
Finnish forest harvesting season varies from the end of July to early October. Berry and mushroom picking is not only a hobby but also a source of income to Finnish people. The Everyman’s Right in Finland allows you to go for berry or mushroom picking almost everywhere in the country including the surrounding forests, city or national parks except the private land.
Joining a forest-picking session, you first need to have a basic knowledge about edible types of berries and mushrooms in Finnish forest, where to find and how to serve them right. You can read more about Finnish berries and mushrooms here. To start a harvesting day, you will need to dress right. In Arctic Lapland, the sun never sleeps in the summer, and so does the mosquito. The juicy fruits are watched after day by day by a powerful mosquito army which, I believe, you don’t want to be bitten by them. That is why you have to cover yourself carefully with proper clothing and wear a hat as well. Having the right clothing and footwear also helps you to avoid scratches and sunburn. Then remember to bring your container and follow your local guide or just your self-taught!
Preserving and serving suggestion
After a hard-working day, it is time to enjoy the sweet fruit of your labor. Berries can be stored in the freezer so they can be enjoyed at any time of year. In ancient times, they were stored for winter food when it was extremely cold. As any other type of fruit, berry can be served as dessert fruits, cake decorations or jam. In some Nordic countries like Finland and Denmark, berry can be used in some traditional culinary dishes such as reindeer or soup. A fresh glass of berry juice is also a sweet treat for a hot summer day!