Cloudberries grow in all marshes in Northern Norway. You cannot pick them in some places as the marsh is privately owned, but you are free to roam over most of Northern Norway. They are a central part of cakes and in desserts. Those who have a lot of them even like to put the cloudberries on a slice of bread. Blueberries are found in large numbers in drier forest areas and in the mountains and they ripen early in August. Cranberries grow on dry heathland and on the forest floor in Northern Norway and are picked in September. In the north, they are obligatory in all meat dishes, but they are also used in desserts.
It is not very traditional to pick mushrooms in Northern Norway. Visitors from countries in southern and eastern Europe, where they are fond of mushrooms, are sometimes shocked that no one picks chanterelle mushrooms, fossil sponges and other edible mushrooms. In August the forests are full of mushrooms and it is possible to pick large amounts in a short time. In some places there are mushroom checks for those who lack the necessary knowledge on mushrooms.
Potatoes and vegetables
In the north, potatoes are gathered in September, both delicate, oblong almond potatoes, round yellow "gulløye" potatoes, which have become a protected brand, and many other local sorts of potato. The yellow Målselv turnips are crispy, sweet and juicy and they can almost be eaten like apples. During most of the year northern Norwegians have to turn to imported vegetables, but in August, September and early October they can eat carrots, kohlrabi, swede, spinach beet and other vegetables from the local area.
From the sea
In the late summer, the coalfish come close to the coast. Coalfish meat has a greyish colour and it is therefore not popular abroad. But the local population knows that coalfish are the best fish to eat. They can be cooked on the beach in seawater and served on thin wafer cripsbreads, prepared with liver and roe as "seimølja" or fried as a coalfish steak with fried onions and raw vegetables. Halibut is generally caught later in the autumn. This precious fish is steamed or fried and served with a good sauce and potatoes. The fat is dried for shaved halibut strips, which is a traditional snack.
Grouse hunting is an annual event, which involves trips far into the forests and mountains. Most grouse are eaten by the hunters themselves, but sometimes you can find them in good restaurants. Elk is easier to get hold of, particularly as salami and as small strips of elk meat. Reindeer is more generally available. This is served with rich game sauces with juniper berries, the autumn's potatoes and green vegetables.
The sheep are brought down from the mountains in the autumn and we can get fresh lamb. Lofot lamb, Lyngen lamb, sheep that are outside all year round; the animals have different names and slightly different aromas. If you walk around a residential area between two and three o' clock on a Sunday, you will smell mutton and cabbage stew (fårikål), layered lamb or mutton and cabbage with whole peppercorns. Lamb in all varieties is a favourite in all restaurants in the autumn.