Fennoscandia reindeer

Fennoscandia reindeer

Fennoscandia reindeer in the far north region are well suited and adjusted to that environment just like Kangaroos are to Australia.  Fennoscandia reindeerhas been farmed in larger numbers since the 16 century.  Prior to that Reindeer naturally had many useful applications to help the original pioneers to stay alive and to protect against the extreme elements of nature in the Fennoscandia reindeer region.

Unique qualities of the Fennoscandia reindeer.

The Reindeer fur is unique, it has very good insulation properties against the extreme winter cold, the fur fiber is hollow, making it lighter and a better insulate.  The antlers were used for basic household tools, and for handles e.g knife.  The meat of a Reindeer is a typical game meat, somewhat similar to a small deer or an antelope, but nothing like a kangaroo.  It was used/prepared in several ways, e.g. by hanging the meat outside in the freezing winter climate (freeze drying) and allowing it to dry, it could take several days before it was eaten.  The meat cuts were about 1/2 to 1kg size, they were usually the prime cuts, and also the heart was sometimes used/consumed by some.  This style of meat preparation was/is common in the Fennoscandia reindeer, and it’s use was readily accessible when e.g. when traveling, hunting/herding in the wild tundra areas, it was a protein source which was low a maintenance, quick to prepare and lasted well.  It could be consumed as a snack, or eaten with breads and other condiments.

The free roam style of farming of reindeer is also unique to the Fennoscandia region, the reindeer have been marked either with a neck band or an ear tag.  They roam free and breed during the summer /winter time. Then in spring time they are herded to holding pens, sorted according to the markings, and the new calves are marked according to the adult markings.  The Spring time in the Nordic region still has plenty of snow and ice, so the herding is done with the use of snowmobiles and trained dogs.

Within the Fennoscandia there is the Salla region on the east border of Finland, it is one of the original pioneers of reindeer farming and the reindeer meat industry.

In the Salla region there is a reindeer meat plant that is major producer/exporter of Reindeer meat products, with in Finland and abroad.  The most common reindeer meat dish in Finland is the Reindeer saute (but not literally a saute-a la minute), served with mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers and crushed lingonberries.  It’s highlight is within the natural flavors found in the reindeer meat, butter, potato puree, lingonberries and the pickled cucumber, there are elements of the sweet and sour, with in the condiments that match the game meat by tradition, and the potato puree comfort food.

The preparation of the reindeer cut for the saute is done by freezing the rump, and then slicing the meat into 5mm slices.  The sliced rump is packed and stored in a freezer for later use.  The meat is thawed according to quantity/need, then tossed in a hot pan with butter, and a brown stock and seasoning is added,  and poached until the meat is tender.  Traditional plating of the reindeer saute is by making a nest with the potato puree, and placing the reindeer saute in the middle of the nest (200-300g).  Pickled cucumbers and the crushed lingonberries are placed on the edge of the potato nest,  then served to the customer as “Poron käristys” (finnish).

There are also gourmet cuts/products available for restaurant use in our modern times e.g.  Smoked reindeer, tender loins, heart, kidney, neck, shoulder, saddle etc.

reindeer_butchery_lapland
Reindeer carcasses hanging in a cold storage

Fennoscandia reindeer is a high valued as an high quality ingredient, it is very popular amongst the Hotel and Restaurants of the Lapland region.   Fennoscandia reindeer is also widely used in the southern parts of the Nordic region as well as in  East Europe.  Fennoscandia reindeer is a Natural product that goes back a long way into the traditional culture and ethnic cuisine customs in Finland.