Forest food

Freedom to roam

Chanterelle (Kantarell)

  • Season: June – September
  • Yellow/orange in colour
  • Generally grow as individual mushrooms instead of in groups
  • Always grow on the forest floor
  • Thick ridges underneath the cap
  • The cap edge is wavy and irregular

Chanterelles are – due to their colour – one of the easiest mushrooms to spot in the forest, and one of the most delicious to eat. They mostly grow in old forests, thrive in wet conditions and get on well with spruce and birch trees. Chanterelles are best eaten fresh. If you are new to mushroom picking, the best way to find them is to visit an old forest and find a spot near a stream or lake . Grab a (cotton) bag and a mushroom knife, and spend some time roaming. The first one can be hard to spot, but as soon as you train your eyes to recognize the colour you will be seeing them everywhere!

Locals add them to omelettes, pasta, or sometimes just fry them up with a knob of butter. Should you be invited into a Swedish home and served either berries or mushrooms, be sure to absolutely gush about them. Even better; bring some you’ve picked yourself as a gift for your host.

Recipe: Butter-fried chanterelles on crackers
This recipe is insanely easy to prepare, yet delicious and nutritious. While in most countries berries and mushrooms are readily available in grocery stores, it’s a point of pride for Swedes to head out into ‘their backyard’ (a forest) to find their own.

It is pretty easy to make. You don’t need too many kitchen tools for it (skillet and spatula) so it’s possible to try and make this, even in the simplest hostel kitchen.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
– 250g chanterelle mushrooms
– 3 Tbsp butter
– 1/4 Tsp salt
– A pinch of pepper
– Optional: A small bunch of parsley
– 2 rye crackers (knäckebröd in Swedish, sort of similar to ryveta)

Add 2 tbsp butter and the chanterelles to a frying pan.
Add in the salt and pepper and stir until they have turned a golden brown colour.
Spread the remaining 1 tbsp butter over the rye crackers.
Add the fried mushrooms on to the rye crackers and top with chopped parsley!

 

Wild strawberries (Smultron)

  • Season: June and July
  • Look like small strawberries
  • Red in colour

Wild strawberries are overly familiar in Sweden. They have an appearance like small strawberries, but don’t let these adorable beans fool you: they pack a fantastic taste that reminds us of the pink, strawberry flavoured gum: Hubba Bubba. So they are basically candy. Healthy candy.

They can be found in forests and on bushes, but most of the time they are by the side of the road or on pathways. Wild strawberries thrive in shaded areas, often hiding beneath other leaves, growing in little drooping bunches, falling nicely off the stem and into your hand (or open mouth).

When during your hike you hear the phrase ’smultronställe’ – a secret hidden gem of sorts – be bold enough to ask this local were to find this sweet spot and savour some of these wild strawberries as a treat on your way to the next destination!

 

Blueberries (Blåbär)

  • Season: July – September
  • Grow on a shrub with small, dark green leaves
  • They are – of course – blue
  • Usually grow close to the ground
  • A dark red, almost purple, flesh

After you learned where to spot them, you’ll see them just everywhere. Swedish and Norwegian law allows any person to walk any forest, meadow or field to pick berries (or mushrooms or flowers) for own use as long as no trees or bushes are cut down and no branches are broken: Freedom to roam or Everyman’s right. The best way to pick blueberries is with a berry picking rake, but since you’re on a pack-light-hike we figure this rake isn’t part of your travel essentials. Your bare hands will do fine! If you’re able to rinse them before you put them into your mouth, please do. Your hands ánd the berries that is.

 

Cloudberries (Hjortron)

  • Season: July – September
  • Grows in bogs, marshes and wet meadows
  • Can grow in hight altitudes, up to 1.400 metres above sea level
  • Look like yellow-orange brambles

The Gold of the North – this is what people in Scandinavia sometimes call the cloudberry. Because of its colour, but also because of its value: because the plants are really sensitive to the weather, the berries can be quite scarce (and expensive). Cloudberry picking spots are often kept a secret – don’t even think about asking people for their private cloudberry place. When eating them from the bush, cloudberries are not very tasty. But when used in jam, they are divine.

 

Water

Bring a bottle or cup when hiking/cycling St. Olavsleden: there are many so-called Olav springs along the route where you can drink water from. It is also possible to drink water from streams in the mountains (the border region). Just be sure the stream is actually moving water.

Fler berättelser
Östersund – Åre