Winter food storage
Winter food storage is one thing that we as humans have developed more than any other types of animal, fish, and insects on the planet Earth, we are the most dependent and skilled in storing food.
The spring has arrived here in April 2011. The migrating birds have started returning from their winter trip down south, their idea of storing food is in the seasons and regions where they know from experience that the environment in the right season will deliver to their satisfaction. Sea gulls, ducks, swans and many other birds are gradually moving up towards north as the snow melts and the ice recedes from the seashore and the many lakes. Many of the small birds that fly all the way from Africa to the Nordic region is because the mosquito’s are so plentiful in the far north marshes and swamps, they are not concerned with the concept of storing food, but rather going where the food is plentiful in the peak of the season.
The ducks are protected during the Spring season. The shooting season for particular species of duck, opens in late autumn. Swans are protected species, they were a threatened species in the 1940’s with only about 14 families of swans in the Finland area. Since then they have increased and today there are hundreds of swan families that return each year, reputably they have the same mate for life. The white swan’s appearance on calm water is symbolic of grace and purity.
Pictures of swans.
After the long winter the household supplies in the cellar, storing food: berries, juice concentrate, fruit and vegetables may be dwindling, and not much more stores left in the freezer.
There is still a long wait before the summer fruits are ready and the mushroom appear in autumn. Four to five months to go until the berries appear in August, and five to six months for the mushrooms that grow in August-September-October.
Late Summer and Autumn, traditionally in Finland people prepare their own berry juice (red currants, black currants, bilberry), fruit jams (strawberry, raspberry, etc), and also store mushrooms, it is all about storing food when the fruits and vegetables are in season.
During the mushroom storing food season in September-October there are mushroom displays usually in the local farmers markets called the “Tori”, in Finland. The mushroom are put on display by the local Mushroom Club or by the Martta (Martha) association, last year at the mushroom display at Pori during the Herring festival markets in September, there was a display with 50-60 different types of mushroom, several samples of each type on a paper plate with a name and symbols, whether it was edible (stars) or inedible (death cross). The rating was from 1 star to 4 stars (good to excellent), and 1 cross to 4 cross (poison to extreme). The Staff volunteers that attend the mushroom displays are very knowledgeable about the local mushroom here in Finland, they can also advice on storing food.
Click below for pictures.
People that are new to the area or just starting to identify mushroom’s, can bring mushrooms that they have picked, and ask the staff to identify them. Use precaution when picking mushrooms in a strange foreign region, often the innocent looking mushrooms (e.g. white color) are the toxic ones, even by handling them with bare hands can lead to poisoning, use rubber gloves for protection.
Here are some of the most sought after mushrooms: