The Expert / Food
5 local Scandinavian greens that you should use in the winter kitchen — and why
Chef Martin Berg shares his favourite fruits and vegetables available in season.
17 Dec 2021

The former executive chef at Mathias Dahlgren’s 1 and 2 star Michelin restaurants has been head chef and concept responsible for retailer ARKET since 2016 and, among many other things, developed and created their Café. The two have just released their second cookbook, focusing on plant-based seasonal cooking.

Most people now know that eating in season is better both for our health and the climate, but can you explain why it’s better?

— There is a limited window of time each year when ingredients reach their peak of flavour and nutrition, tasting sweeter, richer, and more complex. And, it’s more environmentally friendly to eat what is produced in your surroundings rather than shipping something from far away. Also, when it comes to cooking, it’s nice to have a variation of ingredients you use — it’s surprisingly easy to get stuck in old habits. 

Martin Berg’s 5 favourite local Scandinavian ingredients for the winter:

Apples. A seasonal late summer/autumn ingredient. But because there is a huge variety of apples and some of them work really fine to store, it’s so nice to get this kind of fresh ingredients as a compliment in the heavier winter cooking. Topping a stew with some fresh grated or diced apple can lift the dish to another level. 

Beetroots. A great storable vegetable with a depth in flavor. Use it raw sliced or grated in salads or as an earthy side for stew. 

Kale. Grown in the southern parts of our region, you still get it fresh a bit into the winter. Super diverse product with great nutrition content. One of my personal favourite ways to cook it is to blanch it and then pan fry it with lemon garlic and a bit of chili.

Celeriac. I love celeriac. I know it’s generally a crowd-pleaser but if you cook it in new ways you surprise a lot of people with its potential. For instance, long-baked celeriac that is pulled into pieces almost like you do with a pork belly for pulled pork. Then flavor it with spices and mix it like a salad and use it for wraps and sandwiches. Together with pickled cabbage, mint coriander, and some other crispy greens, it becomes something else than your traditional celeriac. 

Carrots. A really lovely and versatile vegetable. Great to roast in the oven on semi-low heat until cooked soft all through and adding different spices and seasoning towards the end. A personal favorite is adding Zaatar — it’s just magical how this Middle Eastern spice mix goes so well with the sweetness of the carrots.