Fruit can be grown all over Scandinavia – apples and rhubarb almost up to very north and pears, plums and cherries in almost all of it. Learn more about fruit from Scandinavia.
The gulf stream makes it possible to grow fruit much farther north than in similar latitudes in America.
There has been much research into finding and developing hardy cultivars and rootstocks of fruit to suit even the harshest climates, and the worst situations, and people grow fruits in almost every garden across Scandinavia. This is necessary if you want a more flavored fruit as most of the fruit in the shops are imported.
Fruit grows in cool summers, with daylight almost till midnight, and even longer in the far north, has a special sweetness, a very thin, crisp skin, and lots of taste. It’s very different from fruits grown in warmer climates. There is a rising interest in growing – and eating – old tasty cultivars, and awareness after many years of bland imported fruit, to take care of it, preserve the cultivars, and support the growers by gorging on it when it is in season.
Local fruit can now be found with little effort in markets, and good supermarkets, and the trees can be found in special nurseries to grow yourself.
Scandinavians love fruit, especially in cakes ad desserts, but also in savory cooking. Scandinavians have a love of eating apples, cherries, plums and rhubarb with meat and fish; we stuff the roast for Christmas with apples and prunes, and serve both sweet and savory fruit preserves and compotes with fried fish, chicken, game and venison.
Related: Apple Art in Southern Sweden
Fruit is preserved in a multitude of ways: dried, pickled, jellied, jammed – and all the nice things in between.
Scandinavian Apple compote
Apple compote is a very basic commodity in Scandinavia, and extremely versatile. We can eat it on hot oatmeal, with blackberries and cream, make it into old-fashioned apple cakes, use it as a topping for pork sandwiches, or eat it just as a snack.
It makes sense to prepare a large quantity, which you can dust with granulated sugar and keep in the fridge; it will disappear in a few days.
2.5kg cooking apples, peeled and cored
500g sugar, or to a taste
Put the apples in a non-corrosive pan, add 50ml water, and put it on the heat with a lid on. The apples will disintegrate into a fluffy, white cloud. Check once in a while and stir with a spoon until the last of the apples has softened. But small chunks are no problem.
Cool a little, then add more sugar if needed; note that the compote will taste a little less sweet when cold. If you ae going to eat the compote with cream and berries you must leave room for a sprinkling of sugar on top.
Fruit from Scandinavia, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) Photo © Norsk-Landbrukssamvirke / John-Trygve-Tollefsen