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Eat: about time to start harvesting; what a forest in Norway has to offer

Here in Norway, the seasons are brief yet intense. Except for winter. That one, is long and intense. Or long, thus intense. But now, let's turn our attention to summer. It's a burst of a season, where everything flourishes intensely for a short while. And as a result of all this blooming, the topic at hand emerges: harvesting all the fruits a forest in Norway has to offer.

As I write, it's August, just after my summer vacation. Two drawers of our freezer are brimming with frozen fruits. To provide some context, that's around 6 kilograms in total. This fruity haul consists of blueberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, and cloudberries. We gathered all this fruit over the course of a few days.

A basket full of fruit

Let's begin with the most elusive: the cloudberry. Well, actually, I'm starting my sentence wrongly. They are quite common, but only under specific conditions. You often find them above a certain altitude, in areas with plenty of marshes or 'myra' as it's called in Norwegian.

You can pick them between July and September. You'll know they're ripe when the fruit practically detaches itself from the stem, the leaves around it have loosened, and the cloudberry appears pink, orange, or light yellow. I've discovered a number of fantastic spots where they grow in abundance. They're marked on my Google Maps, but I'll keep those locations a secret.

Cloudberry is truly something else. They are used extensively in desserts around Christmas, making them incredibly sought-after and quite pricey. Don't be surprised if you have to pay 250 NOK (approximately 26 dollars) for half a kilo.

Blueberries also abound. Did you know they fall into the superfood category? They're possibly the healthiest fruits you can eat, beneficial for just about everything. And you can find them nearly everywhere. A few weeks back, I managed to pick around 2 kilograms in just 1.5 hours. I eat them as they are, blend them into my smoothies, or turn them into jam. Now, here's the best tip of this whole piece of writing: get one of those berry pickers for picking blueberries. It makes picking them super efficient, and you'll gather huge quantities in no time. It becomes addictive, believe me.

Considering how easily you can harvest one of the healthiest foods out there makes it even more fantastic. Blueberries are ready to be picked between July and September. So, if you're going on a road trip, take one of those pickers along. It's incredibly satisfying and it saves you a ton of money otherwise spent at supermarkets.

Then we have raspberries. They might be a bit more thinly scattered, but under the right conditions, you can still find an incredible amount of them. The woods around my home are teeming with them. Especially on either side of the numerous gravel roads, they grow abundantly. I consider them to be some of the most delicious fruit around, and they remind me of my childhood in the Netherlands, when I lived in the countryside.

Wild strawberries are also quite common but are somewhat sparser. They're small but incredibly flavorful. They tend to thrive in slightly shadier spots.

Lastly, there's one for the enthusiasts. Cranberries are also a superfood, but they lean towards bitterness in taste. You come across them immensely, and they're perfect for making jams or sauces. Last year, we picked mushrooms ourselves, made a peppery sauce, and stirred in some cranberries. It was truly delicious. The harvesting season for these is from late July to the end of September.

Have a great time harvesting! And send me pictures of your catch on Instagram. I'd love to see it.


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