Picking tyttebær in Norway, 2014

Wet birch leavesIn Norway for summer holidays. Time for a family trip to the cabin. It is almost September, and the birch tree leaves are beginning to fade.

Springe over myraAfter all the rain here, the bog was quite wet, but the nieces jumped their way through. We have buckets for berries, thermoses with coffee, packed lunches and are harbouring hope that the rain will hold off for a couple hours. This is a large forest that stretches over to Sweden, with lots of elg (moose) and the odd passing wolf, we hear. Just bring nieces, they are lively enough to petrify any wildlife nearby. imageFinally, the cabin appearing between the trees. It is an old fashioned cabin, with no running water (except in the stream down the hill) and an outhouse. They have installed a solar panel now, to run the coffee maker, but the old mattresses are a bit mice-ridden, so we just came for the day.
Old gamesNothing says cabin life like old board games!
TreOr old wooden containers (mouse proof).

TyttebærBut we were here to pick tyttebær, lingonberries, which carpeted stretches of the forest floor. Very low-growing, and abundant this year. Easy to see with the bright red berries against all the green. These are mainly used as a tart jam with savoury dishes, but are also delicious in spice cakes or bread.
BærplukkerSame berry pickers were used as for blueberries, though as you can see the plants are somewhat different. Lots of bending over to pick, you really feel it the next day (at least we soft city-living people did……) It is very satisfying though, to be out in the woods picking berries in the quiet spaces between trees and streams.
UthusThe rain came, so we retreated inside and to the veranda to enjoy our packed lunches and thermos flasks of coffee. Very nice! Here, a view of the outhouse.
Wet stepsSteps in the rain. We hiked back to the car, the rain cleared up and it was a really nice day out.<

Picked berriesWhat was picked, between the those of us who picked. (The others were busy dragging a water-logged boat out of the lake.) It is a good year for tyttebær this year, so this is not a bad haul for a few hours out. Maybe a little early, but for fresh jam (berries just crushed,  with a little sugar stirred in) these will be just fine.


14 thoughts on “Picking tyttebær in Norway, 2014

    1. Yes, there is a lot of lingonberries this year. Blueberries, less so. The rowan trees are also full of berries, so maybe it will be a harsh winter? The lingonberries freeze really well, so we will be off picking more this weekend. (And some will come back to Rome with me, that is for sure.)

    1. Excellent! There is nothing quite like a retro board game! We will have to try it next year. Celebrating my mothers birthday here tomorrow so have been baking all afternoon, but maybe I can fit in some more berry picking tomorrow before the guests arrive. The lingonberries are very nice in bread as well, so I will pick some to take back to Rome.

    1. Oh, I buy lingonberry jam myself from IKEA too! It is OK. Nicer with tart fresh berries mixed in, but that is a luxury for most of us. Cranberries are not quite the same. I never see lingonberries in Rome either except as jam at IKEA. We Scandinavians were SO happy when that opened, I stock up on pickled herring and rhubarb cordial there. Saves carting it from Norway (though my luggage is already filling up with rye flour, tinned mackerel in tomato, and such exotic food items….. )

      1. And what about that wonderful smoked goat’s cheese you have in Norway – surely you will want some of that in Rome to go with your berries. I love your berry picker – never seen them here in Canada.

      2. Definitely! I will bring various Norwegian cheeses back to Rome: the sweet brown goat cheese, yellow cheese with caraway seeds, squeezy cheese in tubes….. And nice floury potatoes, we just bought 5 kilos at the next farm to take back. Nothing but laundry in the suitcases otherwise, and some berries, so a taste of home is always good.

  1. The only kind of lingonberries I’ve tasted in my life are the ones in a jar from Ikea. The amount you all harvested is mindboggling. And what’s this rowan tree?

    1. I had to look this up: rowan trees are also called mountain ash, see http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowan The ones here are Sorbus aucuparia. Some with white berries are used as ornamental bushes. The trees have red berries which are not used for much, as they are very tart, but they do make jelly from them in Denmark. Rognebærgelé, used like lingonberry jam with dinner. Unfrozen, they have enough pectin to gel on their own. Hmmmm, maybe I will pick a litre of rowan berries to try making jelly…… Or am I being optimistic for what I can squeeze into my Ryanair luggage allowance?

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