Finnish lake, Finnish nature, Finland

Finnish nature – Your free revitalizer

Only one month has passed since your summer holidays and you are already running low on energy? I hate to bring this up, but it is less than 100 days till Christmas, and may I remind you: this time is your turn to have the family over on Christmas Eve. In other words, you need to get a grip soon. Do I hear someone having hyperventilation symptoms in the background?

Well, worry no more! I know exactly what will help you destress and re-energize just in time for stuffing that turkey: berry and mushroom picking in the Finnish nature!  Yeap! You heard me right. Foraging for lingonberries and winter mushrooms is the perfect antidote to autumn fatigue. And thanks to the “everyman’s right” legislation, the Finnish countryside is technically all yours to enjoy.

Last Sunday, I had the most relaxing time, walking with my family in the forest, simply enjoying the serenity of Finnish nature, while doing some…you guessed it! berry and mushroom picking!

Finnish nature, Finland

Relaxing green colors

Finnish nature, Finland

Lingonberries or “puolukoita” in Finnish

Me and berry picking

In the past, I had always regarded mushroom and berry picking as a backbreaking and useless activity. Why on earth should I self-willingly enter a mosquito-infested area in search of something, that I can effortlessly buy at any supermarket? – was  my argument, when my wife brought up the matter. She would then roll her eyes and exit the room murmuring something about Greeks always wanting to have it the easy way, which is not particularly untrue, but have never agreed to it.

Finnish nature, Finland

Autumn colors

Finnish nature, Finland

Our old lady scanning the horizon for potential enemies

Nonetheless, after spending a good 17 years in the Nordic countries, I have finally “achieved” the status of enjoying berry/mushroom picking in the Finnish nature. My berry-picking alter ego would rush to the nearest forest as long as the following apply:

1. It is autumn, meaning there are no hostile mosquitoes, apart from the occasional deer flies,

2. The weather is still mellow, thus allowing participating in the expedition without the need of a dress code like that of the “Transformer” in the “Age of Extinction” ,

and finally:

3.  There are no elks or bears around, meaning there is a only a slight chance of ending up on a tree.

Having said this, the Finnish forests are particularly beautiful in autumn. They are comforting and warm, like a mother’s hug.  OK, I am getting old, I know. There is really no need to remind me all the time 🙂 …or am I becoming a Finn? Now I’m confused. Which one could it be? Maybe it’s both, after all.

Finnish lake, Finnish nature, Finland

Finnish lake in Autumn

Finnish nature, Finland

This looks suspicious!

 The art of berry and mushroom picking

Finnish nature can be really generous, when it comes to berries and mushrooms. You just need to have the “right eye” for it, especially when it comes to mushrooms. I have always admired my wife on how effortlessly she spots mushrooms hidden almost entirely under thick foliage. After our last forest expedition, I am now convinced that also our daughter has inherited her mother’s gift. I am exactly the opposite. I can not find a mushroom, even if it is in front of my (Greek) nose. Or maybe because of it…

Other important qualities to successful berry and mushroom picking are patience, persistence and staying focused. Last but not least, you need to know which mushrooms are edible and which are not.

Once you have mastered the above, mushroom and berry picking can be a relaxing activity, even fun, unless your other option of spending the  day is partying in South Beach.

Sebastian  Canaves  from Off The Path is a great travel blogger and a great guy too. In his article “Exploring the Saimaa Region in South Eastern Finland“, Sebastian writes about the essence of berry picking, and believe me, I couldn’t say it any better.

Chanterelle risotto anyone?

My favorite part of foraging is when I come across a beauty like this one:

Finnish nature, Finland

That’s a huge chanterelle!

…and her friends:

Finnish nature, Finland

Chanterelle risotto anyone?

…still ignorant of the tragic fate that awaits them:

Finnish nature, Finland

Chanterelle risotto made by moi!

You are probably wondering what we did with the lingonberries. Right? Ta-da!!

finnish cuisine, finland

Lingonberry tart made by ma femme et ma fille

Oh boy! I suddenly feel so relaxed. I think I am going to take a short nap now. Will you pardon me? Thank you.

Have you ever been berry or mushroom picking?

28 thoughts on “Finnish nature – Your free revitalizer

  1. I think it is the age kicking in 😉 but I am there with you, the nature IS a free revitaliser, I go either with the forests (should know the mushrooms better though) or the islands on the Baltic (no need for knowing mushrooms).

  2. No berry or mushroom picking just lately down here, Vasilis. But I did go picking daffodils yesterday and I got completely carried away. I probably picked close to 100 blooms – it was all for a good cause. I’m planning post all about it soon. Happy autumn!

    • VasilisM

      Never thought about it. You are absolutely right. It looks a lot like a movie setting for a fairy tale. Thank you for stopping by, Vanessa! Have a great day!

  3. I didn’t know elks could be dangerous. Anyway, the food looks amazing.
    I live in Texas so there are definitely no lingonberries or wild mushrooms. We have longhorns, but can’t exactly pick them!

    • VasilisM

      I didn’t know either until my wife was chased by one on a lovely summer evening along a sandy beach in Hanko, a town on the southern coast of Finland! Fortunately no casualties. 🙂
      I checked out how longhorns look like. Yeah, it would be quite a challenge to try pick them! 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

  4. Autumn – my favorite season – such colorful! 🙂 I like photos and text! And, of course, I did a lot of berry and mushrooms picking before years…was it funny! Bye. Kamila

    • VasilisM

      Thank you Kamila! It is surely funny but honestly, I couldn’t do it for too long. I am a tall guy and my back starts killing me after a while. This is why I usually leave it to my wife and daughter… 🙂

  5. Beautiful walk at beautiful nature! No, I have never done berry/mushroom picking although we went to Dutch “forest” a lot for wa. I saw there were plenty of mushrooms but somehow I did not dare to take any of the mushrooms..I have no knowledge on mushroom and always scared what if those the poisonous one.. 😀 Maybe I should try someday 😉

  6. I’m a little late to this post, but it’s the most entertaining story about berry and mushroom picking that I’ve ever read 🙂

    The whole edible vs non-edible thing would be a bit of a showstopper for me. I’d worry about not getting it right! … but I can’t argue with how wonderful the meal looks!

    • VasilisM

      Thank you very much on behalf of my wonderful wife and daughter! They are the pâtissières of our family. I am to blame for the risotto, which didn’t turn out bad either 🙂
      I can only tell the chanterelles, which are pretty distinguishable. The rest I don’t dare to touch. It’s my mother in law who know everything about mushrooms. Finns in general are crazy about mushroom picking. And if they discover a place in the forest where their favorite mushrooms grow, they will keep it a secret forever.
      Have you ever been mushroom or berry picking?
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

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