Burning the Turnip Patch

by , under Cooking, Farming, Finnish, Google, Huskonen/Huuskonen, Tradition

In today’s earlier post containing Kaapro (aka Gabriel) Huuskonen’s biography, there was the following statement about his farming practices in Finland: “Every summer he burned off a small patch for turnips … ” This intrigued me so I did a Google Search and came up with an interesting website exactly about this practice in Finland.

On the website Nationalparks.fi, there is an extensive discussion of “Landscapes Moulded by Slash-and-Burn.” I had read about slash-and-burn farming before but never in this much detail. To see the web page with details, go to http://www.nationalparks.fi/telkkamaki/sights

Talkkamaki is a preserve where traditional farming methods are practiced. Don’t worry, it’s all translated into understandable — if not idiomatic — English.  And it does specifically mention planting turnips:

Crops grown on slash-and-burn land include turnips, rye, barley, buckwheat, oats and flax. If the turnip it is grown, it is sown during the week before the Mid-Summer celebration in late June. The old way to sow turnip seeds is putting them in the mouth and spitting them out down to the ground. The area is raked before and after sowing.

Turnips have been traditionally grown in Finland because they can grow and mature in the relatively short growing season. Also, they can be stored and used during the winter months.

I seem to remember having turnip dishes occasionally as a child, but not recently. Does anybody reading this eat turnip dishes? A quick Google search turned up this website with four recipes that sound palatable: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/turnip-recipes

  1. Mary Boehnlein

    Love turnips–have some in my fridge now. Great Irish dish. Slash and burn provides potash–great fertilizer.

  2. Betsy Boundy

    Kaapro (Gabriel) sounds like he was a good man. A nice bio. & a a welcomed document!


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