Since already discussing about cooking projects in northern Norway and in general hoping to expand outside Finland, in future at least part of my blogs will be in English. (and sorry for my grammatical shortcomings)
For about last 4-5 years tried to increase the usage of wild plants and herbs in my cookings. Improvement every year, although Finnish summer tends to be short and basically every year you wake up somewhere in July or August and realise that the best time has already gone. Finland is about 1400km long and there is obviously big difference with the growing of plants in south and north. My friends in south told about cooking some wild plants already weeks ago, whereas here in Lapland first greens are just about to come.
During previous summers I have used at least 1) nettle 2) bishop´s weed 3) fireweed 4) dandelion (makes nice bitter flavour) 5) clover 6) common yarrow 7) aspen leaves 8) water lily roots 9) rhubarb 10) tansy 11) cow parsley. Obviously various berries too, and some other plants. Very much aware, that there are so many more which can be used directly to cooking or dried for medical purposes, but there is always the step from turning the pages of the books to walking to the nature….in any case, determined to do my best this year too. Nettle is one of my favourites, but it´s also important to broaden your horizon from just couple easy to find plants.
Like I discussed in my previous writing, people sometimes get too much stuck to different terms and have funny conceptions about different terms. Health food, clean eating, wild plant cooking, organic, yoga/ayurvedic food, Indian cuisine etc. There is sometimes conception, that if you fe focus to wild plants, it´s something very much different from yoga food or Indian cuisine, or at least persons marketing their thing advertise.
Well if we speak about traditions, there is no comparison to Indian vegetarian cooking, nobody comes even close. No other culture where good part of the population have been vegetarians since time immemorial and developed very sophisticated cuisine.
Indian cuisine, or bengali cuisine, doesn’t however mean that all the ingredients must be from India. For me bengali cuisine means especially the knowledge and culture, conceptions of menus, knowledge about spicing, culture of serving the food etc. And actually using local ingredients is very much recommended! Many plants used for cooking are same in India as in Finland, and there are many wild plants growing in Finland which can be nicely adjusted to Indian style recipes.
Bengali vegetarian/vegan cuisine and wild plant cooking goes very nicely together!
Wherever you live, we very much encourage you to use wild plants and/or growing yourself, since 1) wild food generally means cleaner food 2) it´s healthy 3) it´s fresh 4) it´s more tasty 5) you save money 6) it´s ecological 7) it´s fun
We keep it short this time, getting back soon with some pictures!