Nature – one large walk-in pantry

Do you ever think of nature as a huge walk-in pantry? Filled with all kind of ‘goodies’ from early spring ‘til late autumn. I do, and I’m very grateful every time we can just go out there and pick what we need. And besides, everything is free of charge.

When we go for a walk in the surrounding woods we seldom leave home without our basket or a small bucket. Or at least I have a plastic bag in my pocket, just in case we’ll be stumbling upon something useful and edible.

Here are some of my favorites:

 

 

 

 

 

Nettles

In early april you’ll find some of spring’s first and most outstanding primeurs – shoots of stinging nettles. Above all they’ll make a delicious nettle soup but can also replace spinach, kale or broccoli in almost any recipe and beats them all for vitamins and minerals. Just don’t forget to wear gloves when picking them!

 

 

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries in a mug or thread on a straw of grass – that’s SUMMER to us!

 

 

Cloudberries

In the beginning of June the marshlands are covered with blooming cloudberry plants.

 

In most countries this exquisite berry, also known as ‘the Gold of the North’, can only be found at delicatessen – at outrageous prices.

 

Our own little Miss Cloudberry

 

 

Blueberries

Swedish blueberries are known for their high quality and are much sought after by the health-food industry. About 80 % of the production is exported to other countries while we import blueberries of lesser quality for our own needs from eastern Europe. This is almost the closest thing to crazy we’ve ever heard.

 

 

Wild raspberries

The crown jewel among berries.

 

 

Lingonberries

This tart little berry is an important ingredient in the Swedish kitchen and lingonberry jam is an absolute MUST-condiment with Swedish meatballs or game dishes.

 

 

Autumn chanterelle

These little babies can be a delightful enrichment of almost any dish, as in soups, pies, sauces and stews.

 

 

Rose hip

Homemade soup of rose hips is a popular delicacy in Sweden, both as a dessert and for bringing along in a thermos on cold weather outings. The kids just love it!

 

 

Sloe

Sloe is a bitter berry but makes wonderful sloe juice for children and sloe gin or liqueur for the adults. But remember, the berries must be frostbitten or rest in the freezer before using them.

 

 

Cranberries

The cranberry, commonly found in swampy grounds in the northern parts of Sweden, is closely related to lingonberry and used the same way.

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