How to Make a Drink of What You Find In You Backyard

Essence of LaplandEssence of Lapland is a very fitting name for the love of Ms. Eva Gunnare. Her passion is herbs and plants that she discovers close to her home in Jokkmokk. Another passion is to share her discoveries. We had just rolled in to Jokkmokk after our stop at the copper mines in Gällivare. We were in for a treat.

On our tour in 2012 we made an interesting stop at the Alpine Garden. The cosmic vibes was telling me to blog something about food in this vicinity. As we all of a sudden had a spare hour, I looked for food in the tourist guide of Jokkmokk. I made a couple of half-failed phone calls, before I got Eva on the phone. Come on over, she said.

The contrast of Essence of Lapland and Aitik couldn’t possibly be greater. We walked a few meters from her house and found ourselves in the forest of the neighborhood.  The most obscure plant is a golden nugget to her. And now it is a diamond for us.

She introduces us to a juicy summer drink she makes out of Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). She will pick the herb when it blossoms in July. It grows anywhere it is wet, along rivers and so on. Then she dries it for a few days. After that she can use it for the whole year. When she is making Meadowsweet juice it is also possible to use the fresh picked herb.

The recipe for Meadowsweet juice:

Fresh flowers (about 50), or 50 grams of dried flowers

2 liters hot, not boiling, water

1 or 2 sliced ecological lemons

1.5 kg ecological sugar (You need a lot sugar for a good sweet juice)

Let it stay 4-5 days, a little cool

Sift it

Mix it with water, carbonated water, or something stronger.

You have an excellent summer drink! It taste very good, has a touch of Almond. It also has a second good thing about it, continued Eva. It is a remedy against quite a few aches, such as: Headache, stomach ache, aches in muscles etc. The Meadowsweet has some of the ingredients that you find in aspirin. The Meadowsweet juice is a good tasting pain killer.

The Meadowsweet has some of the ingredients that you find in aspirin

In the backyard forest we stumble upon the last flowering Rallarros/ Mjölke. Another name for Chamerion angustifolium is Horbmá (Saami), Rosebay willowherb (UK), Fireweed (US), Geitrams (N), Maitohorsma (Fin). She ate it and almost got a guilty look. It is perfectly ok to eat the flower. It is more beautiful than it has taste, but you make a very good herbal tea of it. There are two ways.

You can take the leaves and dry it, crush it all together and make tea.

You can also do it by fermenting the leaves. Before the plant blossom, you pick the leaves. You can do this by grabbing around the stem at the top and slide through it taking off the leaves. You crush the leaves in your palm a little and put the leaves in an air tight jar or a plastic bag. When it becomes brown it smells like mature bananas, when they are black you spread them out on a tray and let them dry. No you have a wonderful herbal tea.

The herbal tea was known as the Russian tea and was involved in a big scandal in the 19th century. Tea was one key commodity that spurred on global trade.

Since it had such huge importance, there have been so contradictory versions that it requires another blog. One blog post may not be enough.

Eva had more secrets up her sleeve.

Essence of Lapland

Eva Gunnare with the last Fireweed of the year

Essence of Lapland

Russian tea



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Posted in Jokkmokk, MIDNIGHT SUN ROAD

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