June 26, 2016

Helsinki Gushes Urban Wild Foods

A guest article by Pauliina Toivanen from Helsinki Wildfoods

About the author

Pauliina Toivanen

Natural movement coach, outdoor and nutrition journalist, sports enthusiast
+358 451 664 270

Helsinki Wildfoods introduces townies and tourists to see the urban surroundings with new eyes. If you look close enough you see that there are wild foods and vegetables growing everywhere, and better yet, they are free for everyone to get nuts about.

Nettle, dandelion, goutweed, garlic mustard, fireweed, common yarrow, lady´s mantle, way bread, wild strawberry, chickweed and yellow rocket not only lead you to an immemorial journey to pure and original native cuisine of ours, but they also have a story to tell: stored in the Finnish folklore of ours, there are heaps of precious knowledge about these healing and refreshing wonders of the North.

And all of this is only a tram ride away. Let the Central Park seduce you with its magical light that perks through the spruces. Or how about a foraging walk back in time in Seurasaari, filled with Finnish rural romance? Not to forget Mustikkamaa, Lammassaari and Suomenlinna, which each serve you a whole new dimension for discovering the beautiful capital of ours by the sea.

Holistic foraging walks

Helsinki Wildfoods offers workshops that teach you to recognize, spot, gather and cook the most common wild vegetables and herbs. In addition, the courses take you to a guided tour to our nearby pharmacy, fitness centre and meditation studio. The attendents will also learn different plant stories, their nutritional values, their folklore, mystery and history. A minimum of 15 edible wild plants are usually covered.

Gathering wild foods is a holistic hobby. The veggies and herbs are highly nutritious and there are hundreds of different ways to use them. You can use them to spice up your favourite dishes or let them shine as main ingredients in pestos, stews and salads. They are suitable for desserts as well. The most beautiful decoration to a summer cake is created with wild pansies and sorrels. In the end of every workshop Helsinki Wildfoods offers little tasters to the participants. There is nothing better than wild herb oil with fresh bread and a cup of common yarrow tea in the endless Finnish sunset. Like the old saying phrases: the way to the heart is through his stomach.

After you´ve had your first wild herb high, there is no turning back. Being a wild herb addict is more than just eating local superfoods that make you feel divinely good. Gathering wild food is also a mindful and functional hobby. The studies have shown that only five minutes in a green nature atmosphere makes your blood pressure and stress levels drop. In Helsinki Wildfoods´ foraging walks you will also get some huge gulps of fresh air which make you more relaxed and at the same time more concentrated.

When combined with a nice deep squat while gathering the goodies, you´ll give your body a healing stretch from neck to toe. Deep squat is human´s natural sitting pose. It opens your pelvis, which is usually quite stiff after sitting all day in front of a laptop. Deep squat also stretches your ankles, straightens your spine and bowl and stimulates the metabolism.

In the end you just won´t be able to get over the fact that gathering wild food has all these wonderful features in the same package. The lost knowledge written in our genes has finally found its way out.

Lurking in the nearby nature of ours there is a free vegetable restaurant, buttock trainer, health food store, a meeting place and a yoga studio

Lurking in the nearby nature of ours there is a free vegetable restaurant, buttock trainer, health food store, a meeting place and a yoga studio. Photo by Aino Huotari.

Wild food goodies

In addition to foraging walks Helsinki Wildfoods offers products to get through all those dark winter months or ease the yearn of traveling back to Finland. The nettle herb products are perfect for savory dishes – including liquorice! The Nettle Crush and Dandelion Crush can be used like spinach in stews, omelettes and smoothies. You can even make detoxifying and healing tea out of them. Chokeberry Powder with Birch Sugar is ideal for adding taste and boost to all kinds of desserts and snacks. According to the studies birch sugar or commonly known as xylitol is good for your teeth as well.

For summer delights Helsinki Wildfoods has conjured refreshment drinks from Finnish birch sap, our Northern alternative for coconut water. We´ve mixed it with nettle to make an ice-tea-like flavour and with mint to make a non-alcoholic mojito drink. There is also a fresh naked version available. Helsinki Wildfoods’ birch saps are ideal for summer picnics and parties and of course to be enjoyed in traditional Finnish sauna.

Some new interesting arrivals are also Helsinki Wildfoods’ Rose Root Herbal Tea and Calm Sleep Herbal Tea. Even the mighty Vikings use to make tea out of rose root to to gain their durability and strength before their victorious war journeys. Calm Sleep Herbal Tea is a blend of fireweed leaf, raspberry leaf, heather flower, peppermint, lemon balm, common hop and marjoram, which have traditionally been used in Finland for their calming and relaxing effects.

In the central you can get Helsinki Wildfoods´products from K-Supermarket Kamppi, Ruohonjuuri, K-Citymarket Ruoholahti and K-Extra Erottaja. Helsinki Wildfoods´ online-store serves you at shop.helsinkiwildfoods.com. To find out more about our retailers visit: helsinkiwildfoods.com/products-services.

Wild vegetables and herbs are packed with nutrients, but there also also numerous ways to use them in the kitchen. The easiest way is to spice your favourite dishes with them.

Wild vegetables and herbs are packed with nutrients, but there also also numerous ways to use them in the kitchen. The easiest way is to spice your favourite dishes with them. Photo by Annika Hannus.

Explore the urban wilderness

Helsinki Wildfoods’ is arranging foraging walks and wild food events frequently. Stay up-to-date by following Helsinki Wildfoods Events on Facebook and sign up.

The foraging adventures are led by Helsinki Wildfoods’ experts:
*Biologist, student of environmental education and outdoor enthusiast Anna Nyman
*Natural herb instructor and agriculture and forestry economist, nettle enthusiast Annika Hannus
*Natural movement coach, outdoor and nutrition journalist, sports enthusiast Pauliina Toivanen

Sign up for the foraging walks by sending an email to info@helsinkiwildfoods.com.
Please include the title with the DATE and PLACE of the trip.

More information: facebook.com/helsinkiwildfoods/events

Helsinki Wildfoods offers also tailored workshops for groups of friends, companies and bachelorette parties. Please contact us or stop by for a dandelion tea at our Punavuori office and we´ll plot an immemorial day for you.

For more info:


Information about workshops in Finnish: www.helsinkiwildfoods.com/events

Meet us:
Sepänkatu 19, 00150 Helsinki

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Featured image by Aino Huotari / Helsinki Wildfoods.