I’ve always loved being out in the forest, I love the nature, calmness and the fresh air. This time of year there’s a massive bonus to roaming around in the forest, there’s plenty of things to forage – mainly yummy berries and mushrooms.
In Sweden we have ‘allemansrätten’ meaning ‘everyman’s right’ which basically means that there is a general public right for you to roam around in the forest and take advantage of all the goodies it has to offer (:
Sweden is often ranked as a country with the world’s healthiest people, which of course have to do a lot with the diet. In this post I cover 5 nordic superfoods I think are amazing both to eat and also as skincare ingredients.
5 Nordic Superfoods:
1. Blueberries /Billberries
Lets start with my favourite, blueberries, but mind-you there are several types of blueberries and the type you find in USA are different to the one’s you’d find in Sweden. The ‘Swedish’ blueberry is actually called Billberry and although they are closely related they are different.
While blueberry fruit pulp is light green in colour, bilberry is red or purple. They also taste different; blueberries are sweeter whilst billberies have a more acid taste.
The blueberry is native to North America and the Billberry is Native to Europe, most Europeans call billberries blueberries so it can get confusing.
(Normally I just call billberries blueberries, I’ll call them European blueberries for the purpose of not being confusing)
European Bluberries are an extraordinary antioxidant that is packed with flavonoids and anthocyanin, it’s the anthocyanins that gives them their blue colour. The blueberries are also rich in vitamin C, E, B6-vitamin and minerals copper, chromium, manganese, zinc and iron. The health benefits are numerous read this article by Organic facts to learn more.
European bluberries is one of the nordic superfoods that actually is really easy to find and forage, for instance in Sweden 17 % of the country is covered with the blueberry bush.
You can use blueberries for loads of things:
- Baking pies, muffins, cakes
- Blueberry soup (Swedish delicacy)
Blueberries picked by me earlier this week
2. Rose hips
Rose hips are known for their extremely high vitamin C content, the highest one you can find in a plant (approximately 60 times more than an orange). So a spoon a day of this stuff will give you a well needed vitamin boost, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere. It also contains other powerful antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids and catechins. Hence it makes for a great option to help keep the immune system strong.
In Sweden we have Nyponsoppa – which is basically a hot soup made out of rose hips just like blueberry soup this is another delicacy that most swedes loves.
You can buy this soup ready made or in a powder form. Earlier this week I foraged some rose hips for the first time and it was very prickly (I cut my self several times on the thorns) but fun!!
I am drying them and will try my hand at making some soup from scratch; I’ll store the dry rose hips and eat them throughout winter.
There are so many things you can do with them:
- Herbal teas
- Jam / jelly / marmalade
- Bake cakes, brownies
- Make rosehip ketchup – yep this is a real thing
- Make rosehip soup
Rose hips do not only classify as nordic superfoods but also as skinfood! It makes for a fantastic carrier oil read more here about the benefits of rose hip oil here.
Rose hips picked by me earlier this week
3. Sea buckthorn
Sea buckthorn is a fabulous nordic superfood, there are few berries packed with as much antioxidant goodness as these little berries. There have been over 60 different antioxidants and at least 20 minerals found in them. Both the pulp and kernel oil is very rich in healthy fatty acids. Sea buckthorn has multiple uses due to its protein building amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, K, C, A, E, and folic acid,
The berries have been used in traditional Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medicines for centuries.
Can be used for:
- Herbal teas
- Baking pies
- Fruit wines & liquors (but then they loose almost all their nutritional value)
As sea buckthorn oil is rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids, carotenoids and vitamins A, C, and E its great for the skin. Additionally, it can be a helpful for inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and even acne.
Image source: Sagogrynet
These are on my top list of favourite berries, they go well with anything! Jam, ice cream, tea, juice, cakes, muffins, cheesecakes you name it! (:
I love finding little bushes of raspberries on walks and just munching on them it’s such a little treat. Many people don’t know that you actually can use the whole bush, leafs and twigs for numerous things. The most common thing is to make raspberry leaf tea, which is said to help women in labour.
Just like the other berries its very high in vitamins, antioxidants, fibres, potassium and calcium.
The seeds of the raspberry makes a fantastic carrier oil that’s great for the skin and also has a natural UV and UVB protection.
Image source: Oregonstate
5. Lingon Berry
Lingon berry is a very traditional Scandinavian berry that used for making jams, juice and syrups. If you’ve ever been to Ikea you’ve probably seen it for sale there.
The berries contain plenty of vitamin C, vitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins and minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Which makes them not only yummy but also very healthy.
They can be foraged throughout the Northern Hemisphere from Eurasia to North America.
Things you can make with lingon berries:
- Baking pies, muffins, cakes
Image source: Maximumtaste
What kinds of nordic superfoods do you like?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE