If eating local food is a strong trend in Sweden, eating wild food is kind of a logical continuation. If you grow your own food in Sweden, May is quite a tough month, since most of the crops have barely popped their heads out of the soil yet. But if you raise your gaze over the garden plot, there are things to be eaten that you never even have to water or take care of.
Lately the interest for edible forest plants has grown. Friends of mine start learning what can be brought home from a walk, new books come out and magazines have specials on wild edibles. Some years ago Roland Rittman started picking wild plants and selling them. Now he has his own company Jordnära, and sells stinging nettles, ground-elder and other forest delicacies to top restaurants in Copenhagen, Finland and Stockholm.
Last week I escaped out to a friend’s summer house outside Västerås [map] for a few days. Walking along lake Mälaren was beautiful, and even better was returning home with my pockets full of tender stinging nettle shoots (although I must admit my hands were a bit sore… wearing some sort of gloves is a good idea). Dinner that night was tortellini with nettle stew. Very tasty, and extremely wholesome: nettles contain a lot of vitamine C, iron, calcium, phosphorous and other good stuff.
Other delicacies to look for if you pass through a Swedish forest (and in many other parts of the world too, I think) are elm-tree seeds (elm trees are, as you might have noticed, very much in season now) and ground-elder. Easy to recognize and tasty.