Stekt renbringa med pressad potatis serveras med blåbärschutny. Foto: Anna Skielta
Fried reindeer brisket served with mashed potatoes and blueberry chutney. Photo: Anna Skielta

Reindeer meat - a part of nature and Sami culture

Traditional Sami food is wholesome. The Sami have survived for thousands of years in an arctic environment, which shows that their traditional food contains all the nutrients humans need. And the basis of the Sami diet is of course reindeer meat.

The traditional Sami food culture is based on what nature provides. Reindeer meat is naturally a very important element. Reindeer meat can be processed in many ways, such as stewing, frying, smoking or drying, which offers plenty of variety as regards taste. The offal and the blood provide additional dimensions, as do other natural ingredients such as various berries and herbs.

Fish, birds and elk meat also provide important variations in the diet. Influences have also now been taken from other food cultures, further enriching the Sami food culture.

A living larder
The reindeer alone is a living larder, with a meat that is not only tasty but also lean and rich in vitamins and minerals. The average fat content is 3%, and it is a nutritious Omega 3 type fat. The protein content is as high as 22%. Reindeer meat is also a good source of vitamins, containing A, B, C and E vitamins. As a natural grazer, the reindeer produces meat that is rich in minerals, such as iron, selenium and calcium. These are all good for people. By also using the offal, such as the blood, liver, etc., the vitamin and mineral content is further reinforced.

Natural pasture important
Reindeer meat is our own natural meat, and is a result of the interaction between the reindeer, nature and the reindeer herder. The reindeer has adapted to using the scarce natural pasture. It is therefore constantly on the move between different seasonal land, making use of a renewable natural resource that no other animal can utilise. During the summer months, when the reindeer is growing, it grazes on protein-rich food such as grass, herbs and fungi in the mountains and forest. During the winter, the reindeer moves eastwards to the forested area to graze on energy-rich lichen. In order to survive until the return of spring and fresh vegetation, it does not exert itself excessively. A new reindeer year begins in May, with the birth of the new calves.

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