To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence, I write 4 articles about typical Finnish food for the benefit of my English-speaking readers. This article is about food that Finns and others might enjoy in summer.
During summer Finns usually head for the countryside for relaxation. That is where fish is smoked and barbeques are sizzling with meat or sausages. The most popular sausages, makkara, do not contain meat but actually just flour and fat, which might have additives such as spices or small meat pieces. The food is fresh and light, and during hot days Finns love their ice-creams. Or their beer.
During summer the new crop is growing and many summer cottages owners grow their own virgin potatoes, salads, onions and other vegetables. When the harvesting season approaches, all kinds of salads, pies and potato dishes are made from anything you grow in your land: beans, cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and beetroot. Or tomatoes in your little greenhouse. Bright yellow chanterelles remind you of the forthcoming mushroom autumn and a creamy sauce made of those together with your onions and served with potatoes is perfect in summer. If you are lucky enough to catch small fish, you might bread them in rye flour and then fry them on a pan. If you spend your summer in the city, you nevertheless might visit the markets for retrieving your fresh food. In summer Finns tend to buy strawberries or summer peas as snacks instead of heavily digested crisps or sweets.
Most berries and fruits are ready to be enjoyed in autumn, but I would consider blueberries and raspberries as summer berries. Together they form an alliance called queen jam and that is good together with ice-cream, pastries and whatever you might come up with for dessert. During early summer rhubarbs are fresh to be enjoyed with any milk product in order to neutralize their acids. On open places at most of countryside farms you might also find wild strawberries. The crown jewel of Finnish berries is nevertheless the yellow cloudberry, which is quite rare and expensive. It can be found on wetlands if the summer weather has been favorable for the cloudberry, but nevertheless you would need to fight annoying wetland mosquitoes in order to retrieve them. Unfortunately, since they are so sought for, many tend to pick them half raw, before someone else picks the small “gold nuggets”.