No slim pickings in Iceland!

September 4, 2017 foodadmin2016

NO SLIM PICKINGS IN ICELAND!

When summer flees Icelanders flock to the countryside for “berjamór”, or berry picking. All berries in public places are up for grabs and it is a popular family outing to pick berries. Some fill containers and prepare treats at home, others enjoy the instant gratification of filling their mouths. Not only are the berries very tasty, they are believed to have enormous health benefit and are rich in antioxidants. The most common berries are crowberries; small, dark berries with a strong taste, which you find only in the arctic area. Crowberries, as well as bilberries, are quite easy to find everywhere in the country and are used for making jams, drinks or in baking. Blueberries are the real find; the Icelandic “aðalbláber” are large and juicy but not nearly as common as the other berries. If you are lucky enough to find these, we recommend enjoying them like the Icelanders: with a healthy dosage of skyr.

Icelandic herbs are also harvested during the summer and early fall. Many, like arctic thyme, angelica, birch leaves and Iceland moss are used in balms, ointments and various food produces. The healing power of Icelandic herbs was well known to our ancestors and in recent years traditional herbalism has grown in popularity. Nowadays you can find hand-picked berries and herbs being utilised in numerous high-quality artisanal produces. So if you are unable to go on a “berjamó” or collect herbs yourself, we suggest you pick up some of these produces while in Iceland to take home with you. In that way you can “taste” Iceland just a little bit longer.

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Crowberries are the most common wild berries.

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Arctic thyme is very popular as herbal tea and spice.

Girls picking herbs

Depicted are Icelanders gathering organic herbs for the popular skin care brand Sóley Organics. The owner, Sóley Elíasdóttir, produces traditional Icelandic remedies from recipes handed down many generations from her ancestor and well known herbalist and healer, Grasa-Þórunn.