Picking blueberries in Norway, 2014

Norwegian forest I am home in Eastern Norway for summer holidays. Wonderful, after the muggy Roman August heat, to be here with endless stretches of cool green nature and silence. I do love Italy, but I really miss Norwegian nature and all the space. It goes on and on and on, and it is so quiet here! Of course, it was 6C this morning, and a high of 12C, so it is a bit chilly. Perfect for being outdoors though, so we walked up the hill to the woods.

SoppHere, we went for a walk in the “lysløype“, a path through the woods that is illuminated in the winter for skiing, so people can ski after work. In the summer, it is very nice for walking and a spot of berry picking. Also, for collecting mushrooms, IF we had the vaguest idea which ones were edible…..
image ….. Which we do not, so we left the mushrooms where they were. It has been quite rainy, so there are mushrooms springing up all over.
Picking blueberriesDown to business: with more family in to visit, we needed blueberries for dessert. You might remember this contraption from my blueberry picking last year? It is a berry picker, very handy. Older models were made in wood or metal,  but this is my mothers’s modern plastic one for picking wild berries. These are wild blueberries, Vaccinium myrtillus which are technically bilberries in English, but blueberries to us. Quite low growing shrubs. Using the blueberry picker, you comb through from below the plant toward you.
image The berries are caught in the tines and come off, the leaves pull through unharmed, and the berries collect in the base of the berry picker (bærplukker: see, Norwegian is not a difficult language!)
image More mushrooms, which I have no idea what are, but they do have lovely colours!
imageNot bad, for a brief spell of picking, between my mother and me. The red ones are tyttebær (lingonberries, Vaccinium vitis-idaea), which we also found. Apparently there are lots near the family cabin, so there will be a daytrip there soon for some serious picking.

Sorting and cleaning blueberriesSo, you have your small bucket of blåbær og tyttebær (blueberries and lingonberries), and now it is time to sort and clean them, which you do with a tray like this. Shake it, and small leaves and twigs fall through. Pick out the lingonberries, and voila! You have berries ready for jam or dessert, like this.
Blåbær og tyttebærThe lingonberries are very tart, but are great as a freshly made jam served with meat at dinner. They are quite robust, so I will pick some more to take back to Rome. IKEA there has lingonberry jam, but that is quite sweet and this is so much better.

Blåbær med vaniljesaus And the blueberries? Some were frozen, but most ended up as dessert, with shop-bought vanijesaus. It is a vanilla custard sauce, served cold, and this is a delicious summer dessert.

It is really nice to be home in Norway for some days: family, friends, Norwegian newspapers on paper and not just online, lots of good wholewheat bread and decent boiled potatoes, cool crisp weather and fresh plums just ripening on the tree. Not to mention the endless cups of filter coffee, and offers of cakes or waffles. That is the mainstay of my English husband’s spoken Norwegian, which I call his survival Norwegian. That much he has learned is essential, as we get through a lot of coffee visits while on holidays here. Relatives will smile and offer “Mer kaffe? Mer kake?” (More coffee? More cake?)  several times, as that is polite. After a couple cups and a big slab of fresh apple cake, he will smile back and say “Nei takk” (No thank-you)…… unless perhaps they are serving fresh blueberries with vanilla sauce. That is such a taste of summer!


15 thoughts on “Picking blueberries in Norway, 2014

  1. Hilda

    Sounds like a wonderful holiday. Blueberries, and other berries for that matter, are one of the great pluses of living in a northern climate. We may as well make the most of them.

    1. krumkaker Post author

      So true! The long cool days make the flavours so much more intense, and the blueberries here are so delicious. Loved your wild apple and rose geranium jelly, by the way, that looks gorgeous.

    1. krumkaker Post author

      Det er så sant! Særlig for deg i Florida! I will be back in Rome soon, with Italian sun and heat, but it is wonderful to visit Norway this time of the year.

    1. krumkaker Post author

      Old berry pickers would have been made of wood, with metal prongs, or even from metal tins with prongs welded on. Really heavy to use, so the plastic ones are convenient. It is really nice to be home for some days, catching up with family and enjoying the last of the Norwegian summer. Two rounds of coffee visits with relatives tomorrow, which will be nice.

  2. thebrookcook

    I think that I commented last year on your post re: how I NEED a blueberry picker- I had forgotten all about it until seeing it again (& once again TOO LATE!!) Norway looks lovely 🙂

  3. Rowena

    You being back home….this will be a treat to read! I hurried down to find the ‘Like’ button even before I read the whole post. Please update as much as you can while there!

    1. krumkaker Post author

      Will do! Happy to share, it is lovely being here. Off for a walk in the woods now before coffee and waffles at my aunt’s. Am enjoying the contrasts, it is SO quiet here after Rome.

  4. michaelawah

    what a handy tool! You Scandinavians have got it all thought out! When I was picking wild blackberries and getting pricked, I was thinking there must be a tool for this… (or maybe it won’t work on softer fruits like blackberries and raspberries that would have bruised??). Even the sifting basket is a good idea. Envious of the wild blueberries and lingonberries. I’ve never tried wild blueberries – imagine it must be leagues away from the supermarket variety – and lingonberries – don’t laugh but only in a jar from IKEA :))
    Glad you got a nice holiday at home and the chance to be back among nature again. I imagine it must be doubly nice after Rome, no matter how much one likes cities. And endless rounds of coffee and cake, i’ll be right at home there 🙂

    1. krumkaker Post author

      I buy IKEA lingonberry jam myself, it is not bad (and I love their pickled herring….). I was so intrigued by your beautiful lard bread, must try that soon!

  5. Front Range Ferments

    I had not realized that there were berry pickers. I ordered a tray and picker last month and they arrived and look totally useful. Berry season is over now but I plan to use them for chokecherries grow that on droops. If you were closer I would send you a jar of my choke cherry jelly as thanks.


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