Scandinavia is not a world leader in vegetable cooking. The traditional diet is based on that of the peasant and fishing societies and, in the north, some hunters and former nomads, which together made up the Scandinavian society for thousands of years. Many Scandinavians still regard vegetables as inferior food, fit only for women and rabbits. Nevertheless, this is changing fast and most young people today eat a greater variety of Scandinavian vegetables, and are adventurous with ways they cook them.
However, even cosmopolitan city people in Scandinavia eat a very limited range of vegetables although Scandinavians have had kale, and other lefty cabbages since the Viking age. And onions, dried peas, parsnips and other roots, garlic, ramsons, angelica and broad beans have been eaten for much longer.
Related: Eggs & Dairy in Scandinavia
Scandinavians have been gathering wild greens since the first hunter-gatherers came back to Scandinavia after the last Ice Age 15,000 years ago.
Before the age of deep freeze
Before the age of the deep freeze, a very large proportion of Scandinavian vegetables were canned, pickled or fermented, and these preparations are still a useful part of the Scandinavian diet; pickled red cabbage, beetroot and cucumbers are everyday commodities, eaten both for lunch and dinner, with almost all traditional Scandinavian dishes.
Related: Scandinavian Food and Drink
In future articles on Scandinavian food, we will cover the most important Scandinavian vegetables and include some recipes.
Scandinavian Vegetables, written by Tor Kjolberg