This week our correspondent Anthony Boutard muses on the multitude of contributions that Finnish folk have made to our lives. Knowing many fine Finns myself (Andy? Sylvia?), I would have to agree with him. You can speak with Anthony about your favorite Finns at the Ayers Creek Farm stand a the Hillsdale Farmers' Market every Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.
The Finns have blessed the earth with Jean Sibelius, Eero Saarinen, Sisu and Mehu Liisa. This week, we pulled out our old Mehu-Maija, a Finnish steam juicer. It is an easy and gentle way of extracting juice. The old model we have has been replaced by the Mehu-Liisa, and is distributed by a Eugene company. Ours came from the Scandanavian store on the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway [Scandia - KAB], so they probably sell the Mehu Liisa as well.
The Finns love berries, and have the highest per capita berry consumption of any nation. Berries are wrapped up in their folklore, traditions and culinary ways. Soups, porridges and beverages are all flavored with berries or their juice. Families still forage for berries in the wild, and grow them in their yards or allotments.
During these hot spells, we consume a great deal of water. Following the lead of our crew, we make batches of agua fresca, essentially water flavored with a splash of fruit juice. High acid fruits with a tannic note, red currants and loganberries are particularly refreshing. Steam extraction of the juice is so simple, so we can slake our thirst generously and deliciously. In the case of currants, it is not necessary to to take the stems off the fruit when using the steam juicer.