Pick the vitamins of the midnight sun
The boundless nature of Sodankylä offers bursts of vitamins ripened by the midnight sun. In the town centre of Sodankylä you’re just a few steps away from berry picking: just follow the bank of the River Kitinen downstream to Pappilanniemi.
The everyman’s rights mean you can pick berries and mushrooms almost everywhere, as long as you are not in anybody’s yard or in the Sompio Stricts Nature Reserve. Beware of getting lost – when you eat the bulging berries you can lose your sense of direction surprisingly quickly! One good trick is to pick berries close to the road. That way the sounds of cars will help you keep your sense of direction. When picking berries is a good idea always to have a map and compass in your pocket just in case.
Cloudberries usually ripen in July or in late July-early August. There are two types of cloudberry: the orange cloudberry that grows on bogs and the forest cloudberry. The ripe forest cloudberry can be red, whereas for the bog cloudberry redness is a sign of under-ripeness. You can recognise a ripe cloudberry by trying it gently with your fingers: an edible cloudberry is juicily soft. Unripe cloudberries, on the other hand, are hard – do not pick unripe cloudberries.
After the cloudberries the blueberries, lingonberries and black crowberries ripen. Cranberries, which are particularly rich in vitamins, become even juicier after night frosts. In the nature of Lapland, the delightfully brown mountain bearberry and bunchberry also ripen. They are also edible but do not really taste of anything.
Pssst! If you don’t have the energy or opportunity to pick cloud berries yourself, have some cloudberry jam crepes. You can order delicious cloudberry jam crepes at Camping Orakoski, Zippi & Suhaus and Café Harianna.
Mushroom picking in the Sodankylä forests
The boreal forest floors of Sodankylä groan under the weight of milk-caps, brittlegill, boletes, and even matsutakes, so prized by the Japanese. On the other hand, the edible mushrooms more familiar to southern Finns, such as chanterelles and funnel chanterelle mushrooms, are only rarely found in these latitudes. Remember only to pick mushrooms that you are certain are edible.
Mushrooms are also food for reindeer and the mushroom crop is very important to them. If the mushroom crop is poor in a certain year, their calves can be small.
Did you know? When picking mushrooms or berries, you might sometimes come across a gate in a reindeer fence in nature or on a forest motor road. You can go through the fence, but remember to close it after you!