- Finland- Home of Wild Berries
Why is Finland popular for berries? Finland is often regarded as a treasure trove for wild berries. Finland’s climate, vast forests, cultural traditions, and the nutritional value of wild berries are some of the key reasons why books frequently depict Finland as a haven for wild berries. Majority of Finland’s land is a forest where these berries flourish. These forests cover extensive areas of the country, and many of them are filled with wild berry bushes. Bilberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and cranberries are just a few examples of the berry varieties found in these forests. The “Everyman’s Right,” a legal concept in Finland, grants people the freedom to pick berries, mushrooms, and other natural treasures from the forests, as long as it is done in a sustainable and respectful way which means that, a picker does not in any way, disturb the people living in the surrounding area, if there are any. This cultural tradition of foraging for wild berries has been passed down through generations and is deeply ingrained in Finnish society. From farm to table berry picking experience The wild blueberry season has almost ended although this time you can still find some. It has been raining in the past few days and so the berries were bigger than it was couple of weeks ago. I have managed to collect a good amount for our future blueberry pie, better known in Finnish as “mustikkapiirakka” which I will show you how its done. At home, we have blueberries, lingonberries, black currant, raspberry and strawberry as the last one. Each of these berries have their own distinct taste and sweet smell amongst which, I like strawberry the best. In Finland, people preserve these berries easily by freezing, some add sugar on it, others don’t, it really depends on what you prefer. In my case, I did both and also made some jams and jelly. Looking forward to collecting cranberries in the forest towards early winter. This kind of berry is found mostly where the swamp is, a little bit difficult to collect, but worth its healthy benefits.
- What is Beekeeping?
Beekeeping, also known as apiculture, is the practice of actively maintaining colonies of honeybees. It involves the care, management, and nurturing of bee colonies in order to harness the many benefits they provide. Beekeepers, known as apiarists, dedicate their time and effort to create favorable conditions for bees to thrive. The primary purpose of beekeeping is the production of honey. Honeybees diligently collect nectar from flowers, which they convert into honey through a process of regurgitation and dehydration. Beekeepers carefully extract honey from the beehives, ensuring minimal disruption to the bees’ activities. Besides honey, beekeeping has several other benefits. Bees are essential pollinators, playing a crucial role in the reproduction of many plant species. By keeping bees, apiarists indirectly contribute to the pollination of nearby crops and wildflowers, encouraging biodiversity and supporting agricultural productivity. Beekeeping also produces other valuable products, such as beeswax, bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis. Beeswax is used in various industries, including cosmetics, candles, and crafts. Bee pollen is rich in nutrients and is often consumed as a dietary supplement. Royal jelly, a nutritious substance secreted by worker bees, is used in health and beauty products. Propolis, a resinous mixture collected by bees from tree buds, is known for its medicinal properties. Beekeeping requires knowledge, skills, and a deep understanding of bees’ behavior and needs. It involves providing suitable hives, ensuring access to floral resources, monitoring hive health, and managing potential threats such as diseases and pests. Many beekeepers also prioritize the welfare of their bees, aiming for sustainable and ethical beekeeping practices. In addition to the tangible benefits, beekeeping can be a rewarding and fascinating hobby. It connects individuals with the natural world, deepens their appreciation for the intricate workings of ecosystems, and fosters a sense of environmental stewardship. Overall, beekeeping is an art, science, and agricultural practice rolled into one. It promotes the well-being of honeybees, contributes to the production of valuable bee products, and supports ecological balance and food security.
- How to Preserve Fresh Strawberries?
Can you believe it, couple of weeks ago I remember we were busy preparing the small backyard farmland for these marvelous and delicious strawberries. We were away to travel overseas for two weeks and a week after our arrival, I am happily picking the fruit of our labor! Since we love eating fresh fruits in our porridge daily, this year I made an extra effort to preserve some berries which I picked or planted, that way I am sure there are no chemicals added to grow them. Preserving with sugar Strawberries can be frozen fresh with added sugar on top. They absorb the sugar through time and by the time we eat them, they are sweeter and complements well in our baking activities or simply the porridge we love in the morning.
- New Potatoes Vs. Old Potatoes
Having grown up in the Philippines, I never had an idea about how new potatoes taste compared to old ones. So for the benefit of those who do not know either, the taste is totally different. In Finland, newly harvested and boiled potatoes paired with anchovies is one of the traditional foods among Finnish people especially back in the old days. The new potatoes are easy to peel by the use of a scrub alone. Also, it cooks faster say about 15 minutes from my experience. The bigger the potatoes, the longer it takes to cook, so just watch out for your liking. I like mine well-cooked. When done, the potatoes are so creamy and soft to bite. It is normally served with newly harvested young onions chopped finely and cooked in butter. When potatoes are new in Finland, they are more expensive than the old ones. The moment new potatoes come out in the market, people never missed to buy it. As for the farmers, whoever the first to sell it gets the most profit. Sadly, everyday the potato price also goes down as many farmers sell. Potatoes are also easy to grow because once they are planted, you don’t need to do anything but wait until it is ready to harvest. For some people like us, we let our potatoes grow old in the soil after we have sufficed our cravings for new ones. They can last until the end of autumn in the soil and we harvest them before winter. I’d say this year, I have learned a lot about potatoes, from its different names and shapes, how they are planted, how to cook them and eat with and not to mention the difference in the taste and finally the harvest time. All these things might be very familiar to many but for those who do not consider potatoes as their staple food, it makes a difference.
- Hawthorn Berries
- The Finnish Summer Activities
Finnish summer time begins in late May- July and the temperature could go as high as 32++ degrees like in the tropical countries. Contrary to the long darkness in winter time, summer is long in Finland where the sun shines almost whole day from 4AM to 10PM in the south and in the Artic Circle, the sun never sets at all from May to August. With this said, summer is the time when Finns enjoy the outdoor the most through a wide array of activities from fishing, swimming, going to sauna or nature trekking in the wilderness. A trip to the other places in the north less visited in most times of the year is a perfect getaway from some. Fishing Fishing in Finland is a common activity but few lesser Finns eat fish they don’t know. And when you see someone catching a fish and put it back again in the water, don’t be surprised. It’s the thing in Finland and it is not surprising contrary to other countries where people eat almost every fish they can catch. Fishing can be done in the lakes, oceans or rivers. There are many types of fishing gears, some need a license to use others don’t. You also need to have the license to fish! Dock Fishing is also a common thing to do Hiking Nature trekking is something that is really interesting for many locals. The love of nature is very evident even at a young age when they spend time once in a week in an outdoor activity in the woods, park or forest and learn something about nature with the guide of teachers. From then, hiking becomes a natural habit for many until they grow old. Finnish forest is full of edible and healthy plants, mushrooms and wild herbs. Many foragers, foreign and local collect natural products for food consumption. Some hike as a form of relaxation others do for health reasons. Whatever the case is, hiking is purely a thing that is healthy, free and calming to the soul to do. Water activities Being known as the “land of a thousand lakes” Finland offers vast bodies of water for you to explore. There are an array of activities that are easily arranged for your wishes. Swimming for instance in many places is free for all. The places where you can swim also have grilling areas that you can use. In Turku city, there is an available boat that you can tour with and you can also use your Föli card to pay the ticket. The ferry is available at Turku city with different routes and timings. In summer, Föli water buses run from Aura River to Ruissalo and Hirvensalo. Water buses start operating daily as of 22 May. Daily service ends on 27 August after which water buses will operate on Saturdays and Sundays until 17 September. Source There are other activities like stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, boating, jet skiing, and kayaking-island hopping which you can do very easily if you have the equipment needed. Local Tours From museums to castles, local restaurants and pubs at night to farms and gardens, you can easily find something interesting when you visit Finland. In Turku, being the country’s old capital city, lies a magnificent Turku Castle which you can spend your whole day roaming around. There are trips to see Turku Castle from Helsinki and if you are in Turku region, the place is accessible by walk, bicycle or motorbike if you don’t have a car. There are other castles around the country that you can visit. Each town has its own church which are also interesting to see. If you want to experience Finnish summer house lifestyle you can also do by going with friends or host and in some cases you can also book your own Finnish summer house life experience. Sauna and Swimming A trip to Finland wouldn’t be complete if you miss to visit the Finnish Sauna and a naked swim afterwards in the lake. There are two types of saunas in Finland, the savu sauna and the traditional sauna. The former is smoky and smooth while the latter is misty and harsh. Both saunas are good to try with a cold beer on breaks and a dip or a jump in the lake afterwards. Sauna is done by heating the machine to 60-70 degrees for at least 30 minutes and people stay for about 15 minutes and wash the body with soap and take a break. to enjoy a cold drink. The second sauna time is normally the last but there is no rules as to how many times you can go back to sauna. If it is your first time, perhaps 5 minutes is more than enough but you can try and see for your self. The best part of going to sauna is the feeling of freshness and relaxation afterwards that is why many Finns love to go to sauna just before bedtime.