It’s August, and perhaps the best time of the year for berry lovers in the Nordic countries. Gardens and forests are filled with red, sweet berries ready to be picked and enjoyed. The Nordic countries may not have the long seasons that countries further south enjoy – but the long summer evenings turn the berries here into the sweetest ones you’ve perhaps ever had. But what are they, really, the Nordic berries, and where do you find them?
Blueberries are one of the most certain signs of high summer in the Nordic countries. They are much smaller than the ones you find in the store, but they are almost everywhere in the forests of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland and taste fantastic. One lover of blueberries is actually the brown bear!
Raspberries is for many people in the Nordic countries a typical “garden berry”, but they actually also exist in the “wild” version in the forests. Red, sweet and perfect with milk and sugar – a very traditional Nordic dessert. Raspberries are often used in jam or simply stirred with sugar and put on bread. Yam!
Let’s get advanced! Cloudberries are for the serious berry pickers. Found in the mountains and famous for its orange colour, cloudberries are precious and rare. So rare, actually, that if you have found a good spot you will never tell anyone where it is.
Redcurrant, or rips as we call it in Norwegian, is another berry popular in the Nordic countries. It has a more sour flavour, but is perfect in for instance jam, jelly or limonade.
5. Of course… strawberries!
The strawberry season in the Nordic countries is very short but very sweet. We tell each other “these are the best strawberries in the world!”. The further north you get, the shorter the season is and the better the berries are… they say. Along roads you can also find wild strawberries, called “markjordbær” in Norwegian and “smultron” in Swedish.
6. An Icelandic specialty: Bilberries
The bilberries are small and nearly black in colour, and often mistaken for blueberries by foreign tourists to Iceland. The bilberries, however, and darker and taste differently – and can be picked in large parts of Iceland. Bring a bucket and go!
Do you want to come and pick these berries for yourself? Why not stay at some of our hostels, where the people working for sure can give you their best tips (OK… not for the cloudberries!). Book your stay at HI Norway, HI Denmark, HI Sweden, HI Finland or HI Iceland