Meet the berries and herbs we use in our craft tea blends.
Harvest time: best before Midsummer
The birch with its striking white bark, lush green leaves and gracefully drooping branches, is perhaps the most beautiful native tree in Finland’s forests. Over the ages Finns have traditionally used birch trees in many other ways than for their timber. From leaf tea to extracted sap for healthy mineral-rich drinks. And the freshest, leafiest branches of young silver birches make the best possible switches for gentle flagellatory use in therapeutic sauna massages.
Harvest time: May to June
Rhubarb got its name from an old trade route. From the Russian Ural mountains in Siberia, rhubarb was transported by river Volga to Europe. Rhubarb was named after Volga— nicknamed Rha Barbarum—meaning river of barbarians. Rhubarb has been a traditional plant in Finnish gardens for a long time and it has its well deserved place in Finnish pies, juices and now—teas.
Harvest time: October to November
Sea buckthorn is a thorny shrub growing on coastlines of Finland and in Åland islands. Sea buckthorn is a typical pioneer species which spread to Finland right after the ice age following the melting ice cover. During Prohibition Law, Finns noted using sea buckthorn to cover up taste of alcohol allowed them to sell liquor as juice. It was not until 1960's though when people noticed the berries had a lot of health benefits.
Harvest time: end of August until end of October
In September, Finnish forests turn red with lingonberries. The berry is known as the red gold of the Nordic forests, and with good reason; the lingonberry is abundant, easy to pick and incredibly nutritious. Lingonberries contain large quantities of fruit acids, which give them a sharp taste, and they keep well without sugar or preservatives. Because of this, they were an important source of vitamins and other nutrients all year round in Finland long before freezers were invented.
Harvest time: springtime, before flowering
Stinging nettle can make a real nuisance of itself in vegetable gardens, but it is also one of Finland’s most diverse and useful plants. The young shoots are tasty and extremely healthy in tea, soups, stews and pancakes. Its fibre is probably the oldest plant fibre known to man and was used in the Stone Age to make nets, and later also clothes. If Popeye would have known nettle contains 29 times more calcium and 10 times more magnesium than spinach, he would have switched to nettle instantly!
Fragaria x ananassa
Harvest time: July to August
Strawberry has always been one of Finland's favourite berries. In the days of slash-and-burn farming wild strawberries grew in culturally influenced places in fields and around people’s homes. Nowadays many Finns look back wistfully to a time when wild strawberry plants were plentiful—it seems like the happy hunting grounds of old are nowhere to be found at all any more. For the same reason Finns get their berry tooth satisfied every year with bucketfuls of small farm grown strawberries.
Harvest time: June to July
Red clover is an ingenious plant to Finnish nature. During years of crop failure red clover was used to stretch out milled grains. So truly a life saver plant, red clover has also been used herbal remedy against the flu.
Harvest time: July to August
Heather is so common in the Finnish wild that its beauty is rarely appreciated. Each flower has 30 heather seeds, so a heather plant produces up to 150,000 seeds per season. The flowers produce a calming and pleasant-tasting tea. In Eastern Finland, heather is believed to give sweet dreams when put under the pillow.
Harvest time: leaves June to July, berries August
Blackcurrant is native in Finland. Originally, it was a species of flooded land adapted to varying, sometimes quite wet conditions. When not in fruit, black currant is best distinguished from red currants by the strong smell of its leaves. Blackcurrant got it's name "black wine berry" in Finland after monks in monasteries started to use blackcurrant for wine.