A few months ago a colleague and I started an unofficial, fairly impromptu food sharing scheme. Ok, scheme doesn’t sound too unofficial. In reality, we both have an interest in food and we have exchanged leftovers a few times.
He has so far received a jar of rhubarb compote and some ricotta and herb stuffing. I have fared much better, with foraged mushrooms and, just last week, a small jar of hjortron jam.
Hjortron, cloudberries in English, look rather like yellow raspberries. They are packed with vitamin C, have a rather unusual, musty, bitter-sweetness and only grow wild (pretty much exclusively in a northerly belt that stretches from Alaska and Canada, across northern Scandinavia and into Russia), never cultivated. The latter usually means that they come with a price-tag not for the faint hearted; it’s not for nothing they are known as Norrland’s Gold.
Apparantly Björn’s (to give my colleague his name) in-laws had been walking in the wilds and had gathered a whole load of hjortron. They promptly turned them into jam, that being the best use of the bitter little berries, a small jar of which found its way to my desk in the week.
And so it sits in my fridge, waiting for the perfect moment to eat it up. Most say it goes best with vanilla ice cream, its creamy-sweetness the perfect foil to the jam’s tart-bitter kick. I like it just as much with a ripe brie, or even a pungent goat cheese.
Maybe I will have both. Either way, it’s time to start digging around for some leftovers for Björn
If you are lucky enough to come across some cloudberries, here’s what to do with them:
- 500g cloudberries
- 25g sugar
Rinse the berries well and place them in a large saucepan
Add the sugar and shake the pan gently till the berries and sugar are combined (do bot stir)
Slowly warm up the pan and let the berries simmer gently for 15 minutes, removing any scum than settles on top and shaking (not stirring) every so often
Pour into a hot, clean jam jar that has stood in an oven at 110C for 20 minutes
Let the jam cool in the jar, then it’s ready to go