Scandinavians and Strawberries

Scandinavians and Strawberries

Scandinavians adore strawberries. During the short and rather hectic season – usually just four weeks – strawberries are eaten almost every day for dessert. Learn more about Scandinavians and strawberries.

We also make sure that we by enough to eat on the way home and to have strawberries on top of the morning muesli or junket as well.

Scandinavians and Strawberries
Children thread strawberries like beads on a string. Photo: Ellen E. Tybring/Twitter

When the main season is over, there are still the wild wood strawberries, scattered over the forest floor and along country lanes all over Scandinavia. These are my favorites. They produce unbelievably flavorful, small, dark berries. Children thread them like beads on a string, to avoid the ripe, soft berries getting mushy in small hands. These are the ultimate treat, eaten on a picnic, or gathered for a special meal. You can even be lucky and find enough to make a small portion of jam.

Related: Scandinavian Berries

Scandinavians and Strawberries
Wild wood strawberries. Photo: SNL

How it grows
Professional growers in Scandinavia grow mostly less flavorful, but transport-friendly modern cultivars, as is the case all over Europe. In modern large-scale thinking, strawberry quality is equal to a long shelf life. Many people do not agree, however, and grow their own or visit PYOs to get smaller, more fragile and sweeter berries they remember from childhood. If you have been put off the idea of growing your own strawberries because your garden is havocked by birds, you could try a very sweet, creamy white wood strawberry (a cultivar of Fragaria vesca) which is much harder to spot than its bright red cousins.

Scandinavians and Strawberries
Northern strawberries are thin-skinned and juicy. Photo: Plantasjen

Related: A Wild Land

Taste and appearance
Northern strawberries are thin-skinned and juicy, and the cold climate and long summer day give extra sweetness and flavor. There are many wonderful local cultivars, from strawberries that are almost orange and look like cock’s combs, to huge midseason berries the color of promegranate seeds and late berries that are blood-red all the way through. These old cultivars have been cherished through generations and still survive in private gardens. The small, dark strawberries, which are sweet but with a high acid level, and make the best jam, come at the end of the season.

Scandinavians and Strawberries
Panna cotta with strawberries. Photo: Meny

Buying and storing
Strawberries must be completely ripe for eating, with all berries thoroughly colored, fresh, unblemished and fragrant. Never keep them in the fridge, as this will take every bit of taste away. If you need to keep strawberries overnight, coat them with sugar. Do not wash strawberries. If you must, do it before hulling.

Scandinavians and Strawberries
Garden strawberry Fragaria ananassa. Photo: Wikipedia

Culinary uses
We northerners tend to eat strawberries very simply, with cream or ice cream, until the end of the season, when we grow just a little tired of them and prepare more complicated strawberry desserts. Late season is the time for everybody’s summer favorite rødgrød med fløde, made when strawberries are on their way out but raspberries and blackcurrants have started to appear. If you are very lucky, your birthday is in the summer. The strawberry layer cake, for which there are variations all over Scandinavia, should maybe compensate a little for the fact that all your friends are away on holiday.

Scandinavians and Strawberries
Strawberries and cream crisp cones.

Strawberries and cream crisp cones
This is the perfect platform for freshly cooked strawberry jam. The cones are made from a tuile batter, thin, crisp, eggy and delicious. They are eaten filled with cream and strawberry jam, but I must admit that raspberry or cloudberry jam is just as nice. Whatever you do, do not make this for more than six people, and do not fill the cones in advance. They go soggy in a minute. The shaping of the cones takes some practice – the first are bound to be too thick, you will burn your fingers, or shape them into elephant’s ears instead of cones. But it is definitely worth the struggle. If I were a child, I would wish that someone would cook something as delicious as this for me.

3 eggs
The same weight each of butter, sugar and flour as the eggs
300ml cream, whipped
400ml homemade strawberry jam.


Cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the flour and eggs. Spread the butter on parchment paper with a rubber spatula in very thin ovals, roughly 10 x 15cm.

Bake for 5 minutes at 180˚C/gas mark 4, until they are browned slightly at the edges, and no more. Bake only a few at a time, as there must be time to shape them into cones, while the next batch is baking.

While they are warm, take the ovals off the paper and shape into cones. Stick them into a bowl of sugar, or suspend them in small glasses until cooled, when they will hold their shape. If they cool down prematurely, you can heat them vary carefully until pliable again. When they are cold, you can stack them gently inside each other.

The cones are best the day they are made but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin. Put them on the table with the cream and jam, for people to fill themselves.

Scandinavians and Strawberries, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): © Meny


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