Wild raspberries start to ripe in Finland at the end of July, which is also the best time to pick them. The season lasts until September, but in my experience, raspberries are more difficult to pick at the end of the season as the ripe berries fall from the bush. They might also dry if there isn’t enough rain, and they get more worms later on. So, go check out the best raspberry locations now!
The raspberries are best when eaten fresh, but they can be dried or frozen for later use. Raspberry makes excellent juice, and jam, which is my favorite pancake topping. By the way, have you noticed that many raspberry juices that you buy from grocery store might include apples or grapes? This is because they are cheaper and added to increase the quantity of the product.
What do wild raspberries look like?
Wild raspberries grow in bushes that have three or five compound serrated leaflets and prickly thorns. The leaves of raspberry plants are light-green and spade-shaped. They are also toothed along the edges. Flip the leaves over and healthy leaves will be a light greenish-silver color. Raspberry flowers are small, about 0.5 to 1.5 cm wide, with five petals around yellow parts in the middle. They’re usually white or pink and have lots of sweet liquid that bees and butterflies really like. The berry is a sweet and fragrant red fruit made up of multiple parts that comes off the flower’s base when you pick it.
Differences between wild and cultivated raspberries
Wild raspberries differ from cultivated berries by their size and taste. In the wild, raspberry bushes may need to survive through periods of low rainfall and the berries are usually smaller than cultivated raspberries. Cultivated raspberries taste much sweeter. Some prefer the sweeter berries, but personally I love the forest raspberries more. To protect the fruits from predators, wild raspberry bushes have more thorns and are more difficult to pick. But maybe it’s the effort that makes them taste so good.
Raspberries are rich with fibers, minerals and vitamins
Raspberry is one of the most fibrous wild berries in Finland. Raspberry is rich in minerals and trace elements such as magnesium and manganese. Berries also provide vitamins C, K, E, A, and B. In fact, two deciliters of raspberries contain the same amount of vitamin C as one mandarin. But you cannot find mandarins in the Finnish forests!
Where do wild raspberries grow?
Raspberries are found for example in open areas where trees have been cut few years earlier. I like to mark my phone’s map app (Karttaselain, not sponsored) with potential raspberry locations whenever I notice clean-felled areas throughout the year, and in July I will check out if they have raspberry bushes. Raspberry bushes will start producing berries only from the second year onwards, so there is no need to go to the newest clean-felled areas right away. Raspberry bushes have white flowers that bloom in June, and about a month from the bloom the berries will ripe.
Raspberries are easy to pick because they grow pretty high from the ground so you don’t hurt your back when picking the berries. You pick them by hand, unlike blueberries or lingonberries. But usually, the areas where they grow have really uneven ground with stumps and ditches, so it is tricky to move around. Last summer was excellent season for all berries, and I really focused on raspberries because I like them so much. There is no need to wash the berries you pick from the nature; they can be eaten just like that.
Fun fact: You can utilize the leaves of the raspberry bush for a tea. First year raspberry bushes are best for this as the leaves are fresh. But remember that Finnish everyman’s rights that allow you to pick berries, don’t allow you to destroy the bushes.
Read also our other posts about wild berries in Finland:
- Blueberries are the superfood of Finland
- Cloudberries are the real gold of Lapland
- Cranberries are the world’s healthiest food
- Food from the nature – luscious lingonberries
- Overlooked crowberry is actually spectacular superfood from Lapland
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