Archive for the ‘Berry and Tea’ Category

Rowans, the common tree that produces enormous berries from the autumn on, has been known as the holy tree in the Nordic land.

People believe that rowans can ward off bad spirits and bring good lucks. As you see, we also take some rowan berries home alongside with rose hips, all wild ones in the clean Finnish nature, to give us good fortune for the coming autumn.

In the Nordic, there are many myth surrounding the Rowan trees. One of them being so that birds eating rowan berries will get bit “drunk”, in fact birds are just extraordinary happy during the snowy autumn and winter when eating rowan berries, as not many berries in the nature have the strengths to go on through the cold winter as the rowans.

Rowan berries are also elected as berries of 2014, as it has a lot of vitamin C and minerals. In the coming posts we will introduce more recipes with the rowan berries. Stay tuned!

We also offer Rowan Berry Powders from our shop, check it out!

 

Rowan fruits also known as Rowan berries.

Rowan berry powders

Bilberry, blueberry, bog bilberry…. sounds confusing?

We took the below photo for you a couple of weeks ago from a countryside cabin, deep in the Finnish forests, where we got all of them around.

Have a look, can you recognize them, which one is which one??

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This is my way of steeping a nice pot of bilberry powder based drink. To maximize the taste I use powder which is made of berries without any stems or leaves. After trying this drink for the first time one can naturally tune proportions according ones taste.

THIS IS HOW I DO IT

One tablespoonful of berry powder for one liter of water is a good starting point for a person who hasn’t done this before to give a basis for future infusions. We all have our taste preferences and I will not mind if you find it necessary to add some brown sugar into the mix.

Pour the boiled water on the powder and let it steep for a while. It is simple as that and you’ll learn more with every single infusion. For health enthusiast the temperature of the water is of importance as boiling hot water will destroy some nutrients in the bilberry powder. The best result can be achieved with cold brewing and using the infusion as a refreshing summer drink. But how about that  basic infusion?

You can make bilberry infusion by placing some bilberry powder into a cup and pouring hot water on or you can steep a whole pot.

THE RESULT

From the photo you can see the depth of the color. I tried to take a shot of a cup filled to the brim but it just didn’t work. Tone is so deep and dark that in a photo infusion looks like a pudding. So here you have a photo with nearly finished cup and another on side with just bilberry powder on the bottom.

NOTE

NO YIXING POTS WERE HARMED (USED) WHILE STEEPING THIS INFUSION AS MATERIAL FOR A BLOG POST.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Rowan tree in an autumn dress.

Rowan has developed several variations to adapt different conditions and therefore it has been able to spread on a very wide area on the northern hemisphere. Everybody knows how Rowan trees look like when their branches are hanging low for the weight of the berries and leaves are turning golden yellow in the autumn. It is a popular decorative tree in gardens, but people do not choose it because of its fragrant flowers because they have the stuffy smell of a trimethylamine (does a spoiled fish ring a bell?).

Right now I’m looking out the window and in our garden there are crows and magpies flying in and out to our rowan tree. They snap off a whole rachis and fly away with it to more private place to peck off the berries. And now came a bunch of fieldfares and they are making a clean sweep on the tree. Now where is your camera, when you need it?

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Lingonberrythumb

Jun 25

LINGONBERRY

Lingonberries – or cowberries as they are sometimes called – are red and as you know blueberries are blue. Why is it that these are not redberries then? That is a question, which I can’t answer. What I CAN tell you is where to get some pure lingonberry powder, just go to our online shop.

Red berries so let’s call them lingonberries.

WHERE LINGONBERRIES GROW?

Lingonberries grow on Arctic tundra area and in the boreal forests of Northern hemisphere. We all know that these are not warm places to grow and for this reason lingonberry sticks to its leaves and stays evergreen under the snow and ice. When the spring comes lingonberry is ready to hit the ground running. Thanks to this energy saving strategy lingonberry produces huge amount of somewhat sour fruit.

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Bilberry - our all-time-favorites from the wild forest

Jun 16

BILBERRY

The latin name reveals the nature of the berry. European blueberry is a low growing shrub that produces blue berries high in antioxidants. Bilberry is often mixed with the bush blueberry that comes from North America. Bilberry’s North American cousin stands much higher from ground and produces berries, which are much sweeter and much lower in antioxidants than the European cousin.

Freshly picked bilberries in a box after a quick wash.

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One could say that we have a tea collection, but to say so would be incorrect. We merely buy more loose tea than what we consume. Poor is the faith of some of our purchases as tempting tea packages lay in some forgotten cupboard corner only to be tossed to the trash.

MAINLY LOOSE TEA

As you can see from the photo below there are mainly loose teas in our collection, but we have made some room for daily quick fixes and few specialties. With quick fix I refer to the morning bulk bag tea, which is fast, black, cheap and easy. Come to think of it that is almost how I like my women, but don’t tell that to the Empress…

Our collection of loose teas.

FEW SPECIALTIES

These we get from our travels to Asia and Northern Europe. Let’s face it, in Asia they know how to make a good cup of tea and in Northern Europe they have pristine nature with all sorts of wild plants just dying to be dried and labeled as X tea. So you want an example? Birch leaf tea, Bilberry leaf tea, Bilberry berry tea, Buckthorn tea, Cloudberry tea and then there are all those meadow herbs… I’d like to see them grow those in the Orient.

THE TEA COLLECTION

The good thing about having more than one tea brand in your slate is that you can offer more variety for the visitors, and more importantly, you can add some taste into your life just the way you need it. For some people tea collection might be a source for little competitive spirit. There’s nothing wrong in real tea collections, but remember that very few teas age well.

Bilberry belongs to the same berry family as lingon berries, bog bilberries and cranberries. Usually we call it blueberry, and even a toddler knows why. Go and watch how kids swiftly combine clean clothes with blueberry pie. Blueberries can be and are used in many different ways for example in blueberry teas.

WHERE DO BLUEBERRIES GROW? Just like youngsters pranks, bilberry doesnt thrive in excess sunlight. Young and lush forests are best areas to find these fresh and vitamin packed treats. Nutritious bilberry is valued food source for many animals like bears and various birds, which in exchange spread it efficiently.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN BLUEBERRY FLOWERS? Bilberries flower during late spring or early summer with the help of insects. Nighttime frosts can damage these delicate, red and sometimes white flowers. If this happens, well, it means fewer blueberry pies in the autumn.

WHEN CAN YOU PICK BLUEBERRIES? When it is a good time to go pick bilberries then? Surprisingly early, the first month for bilberries to ripe is July and season lasts until late September.

Days in front of the screen take toll on your eyes. Organic wild forest blueberry has fantastic nutritional values, which are not diluted by production processes that are associated with common blueberry pills.

WHERE THEY GROW?

Forest blueberry grows wild in the land of thousands of lakes under the midnight sun. Sparsely populated Finland has vast forests and pure nature. It is safe to pick blueberries here, in fact they are so tasty that picking takes time – delicious blueberries quickly find their way to berry picker’s mouth and not only to the basket.

HOW BLUEBERRIES BECOME TEA?

It takes a long process for us to have some fine blueberry tea in our cupboard. Collecting them from forest is the time consuming part as nature enthusiasts crowd Finnish forests and hand-pick the blueberries from the ground while avoiding wolves, bears, wolverines and mooses. At times it can be pretty scary inside thick woods. After getting the raw material collected the real transformation from a berry to a tea powder starts.

WASHING AND DRYING

First the blueberries are washed and after that they must go through natural drying. As a process, the drying is the best method what comes to preserving important nutrition of the berries. Throughout the drying process, temperature never rises over 40 degrees of Celsius therefore even the most delicate nutritions are undamaged.

GRINDING

Dried berries are grind into fine blueberry powder and then vacuum packed for optimal preservation. Mechanical grinding doesn’t lower the nutritional contents of the blueberries actually grinding helps in getting the most out of the blueberries as seeds and skin are both broken so that nutrition is more easily digestible.

HOW DOES IT TASTE?

It tastes like blueberries do – really.

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