Foraging means gathering wild food from nature, for free. Finnish forests are an endless source of superfood!

Picking mushrooms and berries is a popular pastime in Finland but there are more delicious things hidden  in the forest: wild herbs. The use of forest-grown ingredients is one of the key elements of Finnish cuisine.

Wild herbs are not only waiting for you at a Finnish restaurant, you can easily pick and try them on your Finland visit, for example, when enjoying a cabin vacation. Just take a stroll in the forest!

I owe my foraging skills to my nanny and bestie’s mum, who made delicious nettle pancakes and dandelion rolls in my childhood.

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Foraging edible plants in Finland by Her Finland blog

How to Do Foraging in Finland

In Finland, we have a fantastic concept called Everyman’s right. As a summary, it states that you can pick flowers, wild berries, and mushrooms freely in natural areas, which are not private yard areas, agricultural production fields or nature reserves.

You just have to remember that you cannot pick protected species and some species need the landowner’s permission. For more information about Everyman’s right, click here.

I always collect flowers and plants from forests and meadows deep in the countryside. Rinse each plant carefully if you feel there is a need.

A huge disclaimer here, though! If you collect flowers and plants, be 100% sure that you have gathered edible ones and identified each branch and leaf.

Six Herbs to Forage during the Summertime

Foraging guide to Finland

Plant 1: Common polypody (Polypodium vulgare) 

  • To collect roots, you always need the landowner’s permission in Finland!
  • What to use: Roots
  • How to use: Wash and peel away the surface. The root has a sweet, licorice-like taste.
  • Where to add: Smoothie, porridge, tea, pie.

Plant 2: Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

  • Blueberry leaves have oxalic acid, so they are not suitable for people with kidney problems.
  • What to use: Berries and young, healthy leaves
  • How to use: Wash the leaves.
  • Where to add: Leaves to tea. With berries, the sky is the limit.

Plant 3: Red clover (Trifolium pratense)

  • What to use: Young healthy leaves and flowers.
  • How to use: Rinse.
  • Where to add: Leaves to salads and soups. Flowers are naturally sweet, so they are perfect for tea.

Plant 4: Nettle (Urtica dioica)

  • Nature’s power spinach!
  • Easiest to identify – just take your gardening gloves off and see if you get a rash.
  • What to use: Young healthy sprouts and leaves before flowering.
  • How to use: Rinse and chop.
  • Where to add: Pancakes, omelets, pies, bread and roll doughs… the list is endless.

Plant 5: Forest strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

  • What to use: Berries and young leaves (head to the forest in the early summer because bugs love her leaves too)
  • How to use: Wash the leaves.
  • Where to add: Leaves to tea. There are usually no berries left to put anywhere when leaving the forest. Yummy!

Plant 6: Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)

  • Wood sorrel has oxalic acid, so it is not suitable for people with kidney problems!
  • What to use: healthy leaves
  • How to use: Wash the leaves.
  • Where to add: Leaves to salad or on sandwich. A snack when walking in the forest.

If you are looking for more information about Finnish summer and Finnish food, check out some of my other posts:

Warm wishes from Finland, 
Varpu

A Finland blog that helps you connect with authentic Finnish language & travel resources

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Learn how to do foraging in Finland and 6 edible you can pick! #foraging

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I’m Varpu. One blonde,
travel-loving,
Finnish engineer driving this site.