Nordic Spring season 2014

Nordic Spring season 2014

The Nordic Spring season 2014 has bee very mild weather, almost warm at times.  The snow and ice was gone from the West Coast of Finland by the end of March 2014. There were very few days at the south Finland to do cross country skiing during the winter of 2014.

Skiing season for the southerners in Finland.

For those that did do cross country skiing they would have traveled further up north to where the snow was thick on the ground well towards the Easter long weekend.   Skiing will most likely be possible during the Easter long weekend which is coming up in  about one weeks time, Friday 18 until Monday 21 April.

Preventative Eye health care.

Preventative eye health is vital, it is possible to have a healthy natural eye vision for life.  Like many other systems of the human body the systems need to be taken care of, looked after with balanced  nutrition, regular physical exercise, quality sleep and rest, safe environment, protective clothing and preventative measures.    The eye vision also needs well  balanced nutrition, regular eye exercises, safe protective work environment, quality sleep and rest for relaxation.

Natural Preventative Eye Vision program.

There are natural eye vision programs available, one such program is called Rebuild Your Vision program.  A natural eye vision program strengthens the eye vision naturally.  

For more details see this Online Eyesight test link.

Rebuild Your Vision Program.

Rebuild your vision program is a natural remedy to many eye vision problems or weaknesses.  It can be used to reverse many eye conditions.

The Rebuild Your Vision program is a series of specific muscle stimulating eye exercises and vision improvement techniques designed to strengthen the eye visual system, and to help regain a clear, natural vision.

Common eye vision problems.

  • Nearsightedness and or Astigmatism.
  • Aging Vision and or Farsightedness.
  • Aging Vision and or Nearsightedness.

With a well researched eye vision program many of these can be corrected with regular eye exercises.  It does take diligent commitment and resolve to work through the eye vision strengthening exercises each morning that takes about  25 minutes.  There are eye exercises and relaxing exercises that are equally important especially if working at a near-point stress work environment.  Near-point stress can become a fixation for the eyes to focus at a very close arms length distance.

This type of preventative action is sometimes called; 10/10/10, or  15/15/15,  or 20/20/20.   It means that for every 10 minutes working at a near-point stress, then the focus should be broken up by focusing at a further distance for 10 seconds.  The same applies if the focus fixation has been for 20 minutes, then a break in the focus should be 20 seconds at a distance of some 3- to 5 meters away.

A review of a Healthy Eye Vision program kit, for more details see this YouTube Video link.

 

New Year 2014

New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

A New Year with new opportunities for reaching towards those goals that one sets the mind to do and to experience in life.

To start of this year I will add some links to products that you may be interested in:

That is why it is a good idea to take stock of the year gone by, and make a list of Pro’s and Con’s.

Then tick off the positive Pro’s that you are proud of, and also cross out the negative Con’s that you don’t want to repeat in the new coming year.

That is one part of good decision making. Evaluating the decision made in the past, and correcting the errors of the past.  Watch this video.

Have a Happy New Year 2014.

Bilberry

Bilberry is one of the popular Nordic summer berries.

The bilberry plant is very much part of the Nordic environment, they can grow in high acidic poor soils as low growing shrub, (10-50cm) they are found in the temperate and Northern sub-arctic areas.  Bilberry plants is a deciduous shrub, the green foliage of the plant changes color to red and pink once the berries have become ripe.

Bilberry plant drop their leaves in the late autumn-winter.

The bilberry flowers from May to July, and the berries are usually ripe from July up to October. The berry season varies from year to year, there are many variables to consider. Mainly depend on the climatic conditions: the pollinators, as well as the early summer frosts. lack of pollinators will produce a poor berry season.  Also a late frost during the flowering season can knock out the the berry crop of the summer. The flowers are bell shaped and pink in color, they are very sensitive to a frost bite. Pollination carried out mainly bees and insects, the bilberry can also self-pollinate.

bilberry

All Copyrights Reserved. 2013.

How to prepare the bilberry harvest.

Bilberry can be enjoyed many ways, depending on where you live and how you obtain the berries. In some temperate areas of Europe the only way to safely enjoy them would be to use them in cooking; as a filling for a bilberry pie, cooked jam, and for cooking the berries for juice extraction.  The environment needs to be a clean environment if the berries are enjoyed fresh from the shrub.  The Nordic sub-arctic areas are such clean areas where the berries have grown in a clean environment.  The potential threat is from diseases in wild animals, it may be foxes or other mammals or marsupials that carry a disease and spread it over the ground cover of the forest with plants and shrubs. This is not a known problem in the Nordic region. Of course the summer rains wash the berries every so often, but it is always sensible to rinse the berries being harvested before storing them in the freezer.

See Nordic Berry pictures here. Nordic Summer Forest.

How to enjoy the bilberry flavor and nutrition.

I like to go berry picking after a summer rain storm or even when there is light rain falling, it makes the forest so much more fresh, it is cooler with fresh clean berries for the picking.  Also after the rain there are lots of natural plant and flower scents, with a great natural light tones for photography.  Bilberries in a clean environment can be enjoyed fresh from the shrub, they are also great for the breakfast table with cold milk and cereal, traditionally the bilberries were enjoyed during the summer months as a refreshing desert with only using the berries and fresh milk.  Most middle age to elder people in the Nordic region do recall their childhood memories of summers with having enjoyed lots of “Bilberry milk” desserts.

Bilberry

All Copyrights Reserved 2013.

The bilberry pie is equivalent to an apple pie in some other region of the world. They do also make apple pie in the Nordic region but bilberry pie has been more popular by tradition. It can be a sweet dough base with a bilberry filling on top, baked in an oven until the dough in the base is baked through. The dough recipe varies from a sweet dough to a non sugar dough base. Some people like it with a pie pastry that has no sugar included, it could also be so because of potential diabetes sufferers.

Juicing berries for winter in the Nordic region is very popular by tradition.

Juicing of many types of berries is done during the summer as the berries ripen, they can be made into a single flavor juice or a mixed berry juice.  The berries are put into a large pot with sugar and heated until it comes to the boil, this process will melt the sugar and release more juice from the berry pulp.  The pot is taken off the  heat and allow to cool down some.  Then the hot juice is poured through a stainer to catch the skin of the berries. Depending  how fine the sieve is the seeds of the berries may go through or get left behind. Most of the essential nutrients of the bilberries are in the seeds, but by consuming them alone will not release the compounds, the seeds should be crushed so that the nutrients are released while consuming them.  Think of it this way, when a plant flowers are pollinated and grows berries or fruit, the fruit are attractive to lure birds, mammals and humans to eat them, why? so that they would propagate else where.  The berries and fruit are consumed, the flesh and juice is consumed and  absorbed in the stomach, but the seeds pass on through and continue on in another cycle of life at another location. The seeds are are protected from the stomach acids by design, they survive it and keep intact ready to start their own life story once they are out in the soil of the natural world.

See pictures of Bilberries. Summer Berry Season 2013.

Palm Sunday

The spring weather here continues on today on this palm Sunday, the sun is shining bright and getting stronger by the day.  It really shows on the snow surface, it shrinking and evaporating each day as the sun bakes it down.

palm sunday

Reeds on the sea shore.

 

There are no palm trees here waving in the wind, bu there are lots of reeds standing tall in the snow. The reeds along the shore are usually broken down by the wind and the waves during a high tide during the late spring.  Then they start again with re growth once the weather and the water is sufficiently warm for the young shoots to grow.

There is an old custom that originated from karelia for the young people to participate on the Palm Sunday, it is called Virpominen. The children decorate with a colorful ribbons a small branch of a willow called the pussy willow. and they then bless their family and friends with the willow branch for good luck and good health. They wave the willow branch and tell a short rhyme, then hand over the willow branch to the person that they have “virponeet” (blessed) and then they are given lollies or a small token.

The origins of the Palm Sunday “virponta” goes back to the eastern orthodox church, the ritual was done to bring blessing of good health to the person and to drive away evil. From the ancient of times the willow branches has been a symbol of blessing.  They custom also forbid to bless strangers, only friends of the family.

There is also the darker side done on the palm Sunday, it is that of using witch costumes, it is said by the eastern orthodox that the witch customs originate from the western Finland witches history.

Happy palm Sunday.

Spring season with sunshine

No doubt about it, the spring has arrived once again to the Nordic region, the first signs are the calm weather, blue clear skies and sunshine.

Then there are the signs from melting snow and ice, water drizzle down the path ways and the road side. The lakes and the sea gives way to clear ice-free water and then the migrating water birds flock to and float on the first ice-free waters of the new year, a another  breeding season begins for the migrating birds that are anticipating the summer already, it is in their genes, and they know it.

There could be occasional brief snow shower and maybe a shower of sleet, but it is expected that the clear weather persists which means cold sub-zero temperatures during the night-time.  The early morning frost will mostly abate by lunch time, at least here on the west coast and the south parts of Finland.

The month of February last year was still had the winter feel about it, that’s how much the season can vary from year to year? Sometimes there is a good 50-60 cm of snow on the ground in February, but this year on the west coast there is very little, maybe 10 cm at places. Fair to say, that this year was not a good year for the snow sports in the south.

On the positive note is that the bike tracks and roads will be clear of snow and ice soon, which means that the bike cycles will come out earlier than usual during the spring. That means a lot of people will get active riding a bike to work and leisure and not catching a bus or driving their car.  That is a win for all round for health & fitness and the environment.

Natural Nordic ingredients

The Nordic region has it’s own unique environment and it’s own natural Nordic ingredients, the ingredients are the tell tale of the long arduous struggle of the ever changing ecosystems on the planet.

As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment. The plants and berries that we enjoy today and that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years, it is to their glory as successful plants and species of the current time.

The Bilberry is part of several species of shrubs in the genus Vaccinium bearing edible berries.  In the Finnish language they are called Mustikka,it refers to the color of the berry as being black (musta).  The berries were also called black-hearts in 19th century south-western England.

Bilberries as a natural Nordic ingredients, are a great nutrition source, they can be enjoyed as fresh berries, also made into berry juice or jam as an concentrate, also included as a filling for many baked products.  Bilberry flavored milk shakes, ice cream or thick shakes or a smoothie.  The berries frozen and used as a garnish to decorate desserts or used as a condiment on breakfast cereal. Bilberries are a good source of flavonoids, which induce antioxidant activity.

Most people in Finland/Nordic countries gather Bilberries during the summer and store them in the freezer for the winter months, an amble supply of 20-30 liters can supply berries to the food table throughout the 6 month winter/spring time.

Music You Tube Video on the Importance of Balanced Nutrition.

Pori Baltic Herring festival Markets 2012

The Pori Silakka Markkinat (Baltic herring festival markets), is on this week end, starting on Friday 31 August, and finishing on Sunday 2 September,  a three day event.

Pori Baltic Herring festival markets is annual event, it is a great place to discover some of the regional food products and some Finnish traditional foods and broader European flavors.  There are as well many local products, handcrafts and clothing stores.

Also for many  organic health food ingredients, some of them are:

  • Sea-buckthorn berry products (Tyrni), there are concentrated juices, including that the berry seeds are crushed, so that the omega 3, 6,and 9 are accessible to the consumer.
  • Wild honey from Lapland.  Many varieties of Lapland honey, some of the ones I tasted were; Raspberry and wild meadow. Bees feed on the flowers of various plants in their given environment, there can be a sugar difference in the honey they produce, e.g. honey rich in fructose, and honey rich in glucose, just to name a few. The visible difference is in the color of the honey.
  • Glow baked salmon (traditional method) cooked on the spot with an open fire place.
  • Fruit and vegetables, apples and variety of fresh and dried local mushrooms.

Pori Baltic herring festival 2012 is also the Autumn festival on the calendar, end of the summer season, the weather cools down, the tree leaves change color,  and eventually fall of the trees bright red or yellow color. Another cycle of the seasons completed, and the mother nature prepares to shut down for the long cold winter of hibernation.

That is another good reason for photography hobbies, to capture and record the bright highlights of summer, and the sparkling cold white winter landscapes, with surreal flow of the snow. To see some pictures from teh Nordic summers and winters gone by, visit the following picture gallery.

Here is a link to a picture gallery; Pori Baltic Herring Festival 2012.

Nutrition at the Pori Jazz festival 2012.

I went out to the Jazz festival to see what types of activities were on, and what kind of food venues, food service and snacks was available for the public at the market streets.

As usual the Pori market square (Pori tori) had a vast supply of fresh fruit and vegetables available, for everyday nutritional needs, and fresh fish and cooked fish products.  Many fresh flower stalls, craft and art items, and household items and summer wear also.

I found a lot of a lot of information on government services and local business, as a trade show there was a lot of brochures, refreshments and information packs, ranging from the Custom services to the protected National parks and wild life.

At the jazz street, on the south bank of the Kokemaki River, there are many food stalls and services, one in particular has fine dried berries and fruits, large range of nuts.  Also marinated and stuffed olives, and many great flavor filled items to add to your summer salad ingredients, available from the Pori farmers market.  Natural candy cherries, candied cranberries, dried strawberries, mango, kiwi fruits, sour cherries and pineapples, is a great good health alternative to the common food additive and color lollies, natural fruit and berries dried for snack foods.

Fresh salad ingredients, and marinated ingredients, add them to your summer salad table daily. Tomato salad, with fresh basil, Feta cheese and vinaigrette dressing.  Boiled new potatoes, fresh mint, boiled eggs, dried apricot pieces, and mixture of almonds and hazelnuts, with a french dressing and a baguette.  Many other suggestions by adding fruit and nut ingredients to a fresh fruit salad.

Pori Jazz week offers many family activities and entertainment, free concerts at various stages during the day time,  As always at the same time pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh fish products and flowers at bargain prices from the Pori Tori. By doing this you are supporting the local farmers markets, local food producers and small business operators, all in the name of Traditional Culture, Health and Nutrition.

 

Pori Jazz 2012.

Pori Jazz is on again from the 14 to 22 July 2012.

There is a lot of activity at the market place, fruit and vegetables stalls, food stalls and many types small business shop fronts, from local products, health care, souvenirs, clothing, craft and arts and Jazz music concerts.

My focus on day one was on the available food stalls that provided good quality nutrition, and i did find many places that provided good wholesome ingredients and ready made food items.

Top of the list like always was the Pori market square farmers markets, also known as the Pori Tori.  There is fresh supply of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as the many fresh fish shops with whole fresh fish and cooked, smoked, salt cured fish products.

Pori Jazz 2012 week has a lot of activities lined up for this week, including local and state political forums and debates.  Maukasmaku.com will visit Pori Jazz 2012, and post some pics and articles on some of the food and nutrition related items and topics that can be found at the markets streets of Pori Jazz 2012.

Strawberry plant

Where is the origin of a strawberry plant, any ideas, would you like to guess, here is some information that i found out about a strawberry plant.

There are indigenous species of a strawberry plant, and also the other “commercial”, bigger, brighter, golf ball size ones that have been cultivated and crossed to maximize crop yield.

Not all strawberry plants are equal, neither are all strawberries equal, they look different, they taste different and they are different.

In the cultivation of a strawberry plant, similar to general fruit and vegetables there are two extremes, the opposite poles,  just like there are the two extreme ends of human personality traits.  The Considerate versus inconsiderate, active versus passive, diligent versus lazy, creative versus dull, fast versus slow etc.

Strawberry plant

Copy @ All Rights reserved 2012.

 

We all know there are two stereo types of business people, on one side there is the one with passion for the product, takes into consideration the growing conditions of the plant, and the quality of the product for the customer.  On the other side there is the other stereo type that is in it just for the money, and does not care about the product, nor about the growing conditions or the quality of the product that the customer gets.  You know the one, we have all met both types specially being employed for someone else over the years.  The latter does not give a hoot whether what/when/amount of chemicals and fertilizers are being used.  They are the type of people that should not be in agriculture or in any food industry, they should be in a another appropriate industry. A debate about the above issue would go something like this; Bigger the strawberries grow, bigger the business profit, sold by weight of the product, not quality, and that the customers want to buy products as cheap as possible, they drive the markets.  Also that it’s not only the strawberry plant that has been cross bred to perform, but also almost every other fruit and vegetables that are being farmed and cultivated.  So it seems that the business viability assessment and the profit margins is what determines what the fruit and vegetables are being fed.

Here is a citation from a web page.

Indigenous species of strawberries have been found in most of the world’s arable landmasses, with notable exceptions including Australia; South America east of the Andes Mountains; the Middle East; and Africa (theFragraria vesca strawberry species has been grown in the Middle East and northern Africa for a very long time and may also be native to those areas.  Strawberries for strawberry lovers.com

The wild strawberry of the Nordic region is fairly tiny small berry , compared to the cultivated type that is being sold at the supermarkets.

Just one cultivated strawberry weighs about the same as 5-6 wild strawberries.  The worst flavor with strawberry is the one with no flavor, just bland water, cells and fiber.  Strawberries that have being grown super fast lack flavor, they look bright and beautiful, but they have very little or no flavor.

Nordic Nutrition-Strawberry plant.

“However, the “garden” variety of strawberry plant with which most of us are familiar today are known as Fragaria ananassa. “Ananassa” is Latin for “ananas-like”; Ananas comosus is the botanical name for the pineapple plant; and the strawberry plant was so named because of the supposed resemblance of the “berry” to a pineapple plant in shape, smell and taste. The F. ananassahybrid is a cross between Fragaria chiloensis (the “Chilean strawberry”) andFragaria virginiana (the “Virginian strawberry”).”

strawberry plant

Pineapple look alike. Copy @ All Rights Reserved 2012.

 

Whether it is the Fragaria ananassa variety or not, the growing procedure and the season determines the outcome of the fruit not only with the strawberry plant.  There is a lot being said about the growing of grapes, and how it affects the flavor of wine, and how little being said about the growing of strawberries.

“Among those that received a living F. chiloensis plant from Frézier was theRoyal Medicinal Garden in Paris, France. Consequently, it has long been speculated that the first F. ananassa strawberries may have grown in this royal garden. Whether this is correct or not, it is certain that the first “garden” strawberry cultivars did sprout somewhere in the southern England-northern France-Benelux region of western Europe.”

“Nevertheless, the first cultivated crossings of F. virginiana x F. chiloensisoccurred in Europe sometime within the roughly half century span from 1714 to 1766.”

Where did the strawberry plant originate?  It is still a mystery to me, we know that there are indigenous strawberry plant species in North America, and the south America, also strawberries grow in the Pacific islands e.g. Hawaii.  Maybe after more study and reading i can update this post with more details later on.

For more pictures of Wild Nordic strawberry plant. Nordic cuisine focus.

8 health benefits of a Strawberry plant, 1 cup full of nutrition from strawberries. For more pictures of a wild strawberry plant click on this hyperlink.

Health Diaries.com

 

strawberry plant

White flower pedals of a strawberry plant. Copy @ Rights Reserved 2012.

 

 

Nordic ingredients cuisine culture and tradition.