If you do one thing this summer, pick Icelandic berries!
People should by all means not miss going into the Icelandic countryside to pick berries this year says berry specialist Sveinn Rúnar Hauksson. The berry season is looking particularly good this year.
Going out to pick berries in Iceland is called going to "berjamó."
"The crop this year means that there's more than enough for everyone. The prime blueberries are already ripe but the blueberries need a little more time. And the crowberries are waiting to be picked and not left behind," says Hauksson.
He points out that there are several good places for berry picking in the vicinity of Reykjavik, such as the Heiðmörk nature reserve, at Geitháls and Rauðavatn lake. He also recommends the road leading from there to Nesjavellir for good berry picking spots.
Going the other way out of Reykjavik, the Mosfellsdalur valley is a good place for berries, and also going to the base of Mount Esja.
"Also you could go to Hafnarfjörður, picking berries in the lava field is fun."
He recommends using a small bucket or plastic boxes intended for sweets to collect the berries and to use one hand to run through the bushes and the other one for picking the berries. "It's important not to damage the plant or tear at it."
Finally, he says that it's important to ask for permission at the local farm if you are on private land.
Know your berries:
A bluberry is a beautiful shade of medium blue.
A prime blueberry is smaller than a normal blueberry and is darker in colour. If you squeeze one, the juice is red, compared to white or clear in a normal blueberry.
A crowberry is small and pitch black in colour. The taste is a little bitter but they are excellent for making juice, jam or cooking.