Quick guide: How to eat seasonal food in Helsinki

A sales person at a market stall in Hakaniemi's temporary Market Hall can just be seen behind huge piles of vegetables along the whole stall front. Shelves of dried and preserved products stand behind her.
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Taste the seasons on your plate. If you want to enjoy delicious seasonal food on your visit to Helsinki, here is a quick guide.
On the right a youn man sells new potatoes from the back of his boat to and older gentleman standing on the edge of helsinki Harbour. Helsinki Market Square's orange stall canopies can be seen in the background.
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Summer

What to eat: Green salads, fish and fish soups with seasonal vegetables, grilled foods, berry desserts, raw vegetables, new potatoes and herring.

What’s in season: New potatoes, fresh cabbage, peas, summer onions, summer carrots, cauliflower, lettuces, herbs like mint and dill, chives, strawberries, nettles. In late summer: black currants, red currants, gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, chanterelle mushrooms, boletus mushrooms, perch, whitefish, flounder, pike, nettles. The crayfish season lasts from late July to late October (signal crayfish and European crayfish).

Where to eat:
Berries and mushrooms can be found in abundance in Helsinki’s markets and grocery stores – or simply go berry and mushroom picking with a local. For modern vegetarian food and colourful salads, try for example SilvopleeGrön is known for using wild and natural food ingredients in new and surprising ways. 

A large pile of bright red crayfish sit on a plate that has been placed in the centre of a white table that also has candles and lemons placed upon it. Hands can be seen reaching for the crayfish.
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Autumn

What to eat: Wild game and mushrooms, berry pies, crayfish, fresh reindeer meat

What’s in season: Chanterelle mushrooms, cabbages and root vegetables (black salsify, beetroot, rutabaga, turnip), marrows, barley, black beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, corn, fennel, spinach, salads, fruits (apples, pears, plums, damsons, chokeberry), berries (lingonberries, cranberries, cloudberries). At the start of the hunting season: elk, roe, deer, duck. Fish: flounder, wild whitefish, roach, vendace, pike-perch, perch and herring. The crayfish season lasts from late August to late October (signal crayfish and European crayfish).

Where to eat:
The best places to find autumn treats, especially meats and fish, are the open-air markets and market halls in Helsinki. You can indulge in crayfish at one of the many island restaurants off the coast of Helsinki, such as Särkänlinna and NJK.

A view from above, one man is standing behind a counter full of different raw and cooked meats waiting for customers, while the other two are cleaning and preparing more products.
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Winter

What to eat: Hearty soups, meat and chicken stews, baked root vegetables, blinis

What’s in season: Root vegetables (Jerusalem artichoke, turnip, carrots, rutabaga, celeriac), chickpeas and beans, imported citrus fruits (oranges, mandarins, blood oranges), nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds, raisins and dried plums, barley, buckwheat, pike-perch, perch, vendace, burbot

Where to eat:
In wintertime you can find vegetables and dried fruits in all well-stocked grocery stores. You can enjoy a steaming bowl of fish soup in the Old Market Hall or Hakaniemi Market Hall. The iconic restaurant Elite serves delicious salmon soup.

Close up looking down at a hand holding a wicker basket containing a variety of wild herbs.
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Spring

What to eat: Rhubarb pie, asparagus, salads, spring vegetables

What’s in season: Garlic, rhubarb, morel, common mushrooms, nettles, fresh cabbage, nuts, leek, zucchini, pea sprouts, spelt, millet, buckwheat, pike, bream, herring, perch, roach

Where to eat:
Head for the markets to pick up the fresh spring harvest. The boats tied up to the Market Square sell mouthwatering herring treats. If your budget stretches that far, try the first asparagus of the season in the classic Savoy restaurant

Sources: Satokausikalenteri (Harvest Calendar), Kausiruokaa – herkuttelijoille ja ilmaston ystäville (“Seasonal Food”, published by Teos)

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Taste the seasons on your plate. If you want to enjoy delicious seasonal food on your visit to Helsinki, here is a quick guide.