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.
Here, 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…..
….. 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.
Down 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.
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!)
More mushrooms, which I have no idea what are, but they do have lovely colours!
Not 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.
So, 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.
The 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.
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!