Let them eat flowers

Finnish nature is an endless source of trendy superfood. The use of forest-grown ingredients was diminishing for some years but now there is a new enthusiasm for wild herbs. I owe my wild herbing skills (sorry, I just looove to invent never-used words in all possible languages) to my nanny and bestie’s mum, who made delicious nettle pancakes and dandelion rolls in my childhood.

A huge disclaimer here, though! If you collect flowers and plants, be 100% sure that you have collected edible ones and identified each branch and leaf.

Finnish meadow

I always collect flowers and plants from forests and meadows deep in the countryside. Also use common sense and rinse produce carefully if you feel there is a need. Make sure that you respect the legislation too.

In Finland, we have a cool concept called Everyman’s right. As a summary, it states that as long as they are not protected species, flowers, wild berries and mushrooms may be picked freely in natural areas, which are not private yard areas, agricultural production fields or nature reserves. For more information click here.

summer girl

Here are some plants I use.

Edible Finnish flowers.png1.ย Common polypody (Polypodium vulgare)

  • To collect roots, you always need the landowner’s permission in Finland!
  • What to use: Roots
  • How to use: Wash and peel away the surface. The root has a sweet, liquorices-like taste.
  • Where to add: Smoothie, porridge, tea, pie.

2. Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

  • Blueberry leaves have oxalic acid so they are not good for people with kidney problems!
  • What to use: Berries and young, healthy leaves
  • How to use: Wash the leaves.
  • Where to add: Leaves to tea. With berries, the sky is the limit.

3. Red clover (Trifolium pratense)

  • What to use: Young healthy leaves and flowers.
  • How to use: Rinse.
  • Where to add: Leaves to salads and soups. Flowers are naturally sweet, so they are perfect for tea.

4. Nettle (Urtica dioica)

  • Nature’s power spinach!
  • Easiest to identify – just take your gardening gloves off and see if you get a rash.
  • What to use: Young healthy sprouts and leaves before flowering.
  • How to use: Rinse and chop.
  • Where to add: Pancakes, omelets, pies, bread and roll doughs… the list is endless.

5. Forest strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

  • What to use: Berries and young leaves (head to the forest in the early summer because bugs love her leaves too)
  • How to use: Wash the leaves.
  • Where to add: Leaves to tea. There are usually no berries left to put anywhere, when leaving the forest.

6. Wood sorrelย (Oxalis acetosella)

  • Wood sorrel has oxalic acid so it is not good for people with kidney problems!
  • What to use: healthy leaves
  • How to use: Wash the leaves.
  • Where to add: Leaves to salad, as bread topping or as snack when walking in the forest.

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