Tag archives for food

Will we have our own giant shrimps in Sweden?

Will there be locally produced Swedish shrimp sushi in the future? Well, we might have to change the rice for something else though … Photo: Baron Valium (CC: by-sa)

You find them on the sushi, in woks or at the barbeque… Tiger prawns and giant shrimps have become a popular ingredient on many plates in Sweden. But after increasing discussions and campaigns about the downsides of tiger prawn production (destruction of mangrove swamps, sweet water goes salty, agricultural land becomes infertile…) not to mention the long transports from the other side of the world, more and more food shops and restaurants have chosen to stop selling these big prawns.

The future might bring them back on the menu, though. Earlier this summer, Matilda Olstorpe was one of the winners at the Smart Lunch competition I have mentioned here on the blog.
Matilda Olstorpe is a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and she has developed a method for breeding giant shrimps together with the Tilapia fish, using the excess heating and sugar by-product from a papermill.

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Together is more sustainable

Eating together is more fun, and can also be more sustainable. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/imagebank.sweden.se

Lukas Moodysson’s film Tillsammans (Together) from 2000, about Swedes living in a 1975 commune, has a tagline which has become classic. It’s the lonely retired man Birger, having a beer with the newly separated Rolf, who says:
- I’d rather eat oatmeal porridge together with others than a fillet of beef on my own.

There’s a lot of truth in that.

Today Sweden has the world’s highest percentage of one-person households. In Stockholm, where this trend is even more significant than in the rest of the country, more than half of all households consist of one single person.

Living on their own is something that a lot of people are happy with, but there are things that you can miss. Like eating with others, without having to go to a restaurant. Or just eating something you haven’t cooked yourself.

Swedish word of the day: Knytkalas (Potluck in English). Everyone brings a dish that can be shared by all. Minimal work for a maximized dinner! Photo: Marie Linder (CC: by-nc-sa)

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Jane raises the status of Sweden’s forgotten garden fruit

Jane Arrowsmith turns people’s forgotten fruit into gold – or at least delicious food. Photo: Johannes Frandsen.

July isn’t only the most classical holiday month in Sweden, it is also the time of the year when people’s gardens start to explode with fruits and vegetables.

It might sound odd, but for many this seems to be an annual surprise.

When holidays are planned, very few take into account that their own homes will turn into food-producing factories. Others just don’t have the time or energy to take care of harvests from plants and trees that were probably already there when they moved in.

So while Swedish gardens are bursting with tons of apples, pears, plums, currants and gooseberries – a lot of it unfortunately just rots away.

Liquid apple for darker days. Photo: Johannes Frandsen.

When Jane Arrowsmith, who lives in the western part of Stockholm, noticed this, she felt something had to be done.
She started by letting her friends on Facebook know that she could harvest their fruit and give back 20–25 percent of it in the form of jam,  juice and other refined products. The rest of it, Jane and her family eat themselves or sell at local markets.

Soon enough people started to contact Jane themselves. It is hard to know how much fruit Jane takes care of, but she knows that last year more than 300 kilo of apples went to juice-making, and that was just a small part of the harvest.

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Allwin won’t let good food go to waste

The idea behind Allwin: Instead of burning the overproduction of food, it is distributed to those who need it. Illustration: Allwin.

Modern society may have figured out a lot of fantastic things, but in most places of the world we still have a lot to learn about resource efficiency. Hundred of thousands of tons of food which is grown, harvested, processed, packed and transported end up in the waste bin instead of on someone’s table.

Most people instinctively feel this is deeply wrong, and it’s probably why the service company Allwin which reduces food waste has gotten so much attention in Sweden, winning prizes, and receiving awards.

The idea of Allwin is to take care of producer’s overproduction, food that risks getting old or has minor imperfections, and distibuting it to those who need it, like individuals in need or organisations working with homeless.

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Eating my way through the forest pantry

The stinging nettle is one of my favourites. Usually I pick them with a plastic bag around my hand, though… Photo: Erik Mörner (CC: by-nc-sa)

As my blog colleagues Kate and Rob have already observed on their blogs: Sweden is a country where you can find quite a lot of good food out in the wild. Locally produced, organic (at least if you don’t pick it along a highway or in a roundabout) and totally free.

Still waiting for the summer’s explosion of fruit and berries, I have spent all spring stuffing myself with nettles. It’s really unbelievable how many good things they contain.

Ground elder (the green leaves at the bottom of the photo) are most gardeners' big fear since they spread uncontrollably. But sooo delicious fried in butter. Photo: Sigfrid Lundberg (CC: by-sa)

But there are also a lot of other wild edible plants around. Since I’m no expert I’ve had very good help from a web site called Skogsskafferiet (which would be something like “The forest pantry” in English),which works as an excellent encyclopedia, and also gives good advice about what plants might be available at the moment.

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