We already handed the crown for the most Finnish flavour to the birch leaf a while ago. However, blueberries (bilberries) or mustikka, as they are known in Finnish, come in a close second. While the birch leaf is indeed a very unique flavour found in many products, few things are more popular in the land of the midnight sun than this magical berry that grows in Finland’s vast forests every year.
Finns love blueberries and every other one forages for berries and other goodies in the forests. It is a popular past-time and recreational activity that not only promises tasty things to eat but is actually good for your health as spending the day outside in nature while picking stuff is a really good workout (and spending time in the forest in general is good for us). However, not only locals enjoy roaming the forests. It is very popular among tourists, too, who come to Finland, among other reasons, for the pristine nature, its produce and the experiences connected to berry picking.
Blueberries have a natural sweetness to them, a big reason why people like them so much. However, they are also known for their health benefits: they have beneficial effects for our immune system and our metabolism, eye and brain health and memory and contain plenty of vitamins (C and E), minerals (zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium and manganese), antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and dietary fibre. Tasty and healthy? That’s a pretty good combination.
Just to give you an idea how popular these berries are, look at our shop. Finland’s favourite berry can be found in a variety of our products. There is pure blueberry powder, blueberry powder mixed with birch sugar (xylitol), dried blueberries as well as two different snack bars, raw chocolate and spelt fibre supplement flavoured with blueberries. That’s quite a bunch even for a small shop like ours. And similar to the birch leaf, you can find it in many more products in Finland, including natural cosmetics like soap.
Fresh wild berries are of course the best option. They are more nutritious than cultivated berries and especially those berries growing under the midnight sun are known to be highly nutritious. But since that is only possible during the short-lived berry season in the summer, dried berries and berry powders are a good option for off-season consumption. These products typically retain almost all of the health benefits of the fresh berries and can be store year-round to survive until the forests start producing fresh berries again.
Elina & Tim
Try our fudge recipe not only with blackcurrant but also with blueberry powder. We tried it a while ago and it is wonderful!
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