ICELANDIC AGRICULTURE

 


The  Farmes  Association  of  Iceland
Hagatorg 1 IS-107 Reykjavík 
Tel: +354 563-0300 www.bondi.is  www.bbl.is

Unique conditions

There are unique conditions for producing wholesome and unpolluted food products in Iceland and the land is self-sufficient in meat, dairy products, eggs, and to a large extent also in the production of certain vegetables.

 

At the turn of last century, 73% of Icelanders lived in rural areas and were engaged in farming. By 1940, 32% of the employable population worked in agriculture. At the beginning of the nineties, the percentage had dropped to about 4% and will probably decline even more in coming years.

 

Icelandic grass is better and more nourishing forage than most other grass grown in Europe. The explanation for this is found in the long hours of daylight during the country´s short, cool summers. These conditions cause grass to grow exceptionally well during bright summers.

 

Icelandic farmers have relatively large holdings, which include on average 30-50 hectares of cultivated hayfields, the total size of farms often being hundreds of hectares.

 

One characteristic of Icelandic agriculture is the varied colouring of its native livestock. Horses, cattle and sheep exhibit many colour varieties, no particular variety having been favoured. However, emphasis has been placed on the wool of white sheep being pure white, as this variety is more valuable.

 

There are about 4000 full-time farmers in Iceland, and their numbers are decreasing, although the number of individuals deriving part of their income from farming is increasing. The majority of Icelandic farmers live on their own land, and holdings have often been in the same family for generations. Most do reasonably well, although very few can be said to belong to a high-income group.

 

Icelandic food production is based on purity, wholesomeness and sustainability. In Iceland there has been a ban on the use of antibiotics as feed additives and hormone implants as growth promoters, while the use of pesticides and herbicides is in general very restricted. The move towards organic agriculture in Iceland has not attracted quite the same attention as it has in some other European countries due to the fact that domestic products are already protected by strict regulations.


TRADITIONAL ICELANDIC FOOD

 Hangikjöt – Smoked lamb

Smoked lamb, leg or shoulder, can be had on the bone, boned or cooked and sliced as luncheon meat. Raw hangikjöt should be boiled in unsalted water at a low heat for about 1 ½ hours. In Iceland hangikjöt is traditionally served either hot or cold, with potatoes in a white (béchamel) sauce and green peas (variations according to taste). Popular as a luncheon meat, especially on Icelandic rye pancakes (flatbrauð). A favourite with Icelanders at any time, hangikjöt is traditional Christmas fare.

 

Svið – Singed sheep heads
Singed sheep heads should first be thoroughly rinsed and then boiled in well-salted water for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Svið can be eaten hot or cold, with either plain boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes or swede turnips. A popular dish in Iceland, svið are an ideal item for a packed lunch. Also available ready-cooked, tinned or pressed and gelled (sviðasulta).

 Saltkjöt – Salted lamb/mutton
Salted lamb/mutton needs to be boiled for 1 ½ hours in unsalted water. It is served either hot or cold with potatoes or swede turnips and is frequently accompanied by split pea soup.

 Bjúgu – Smoked minced meat sausage
Cooking directions are given on the package. The sausage can be served either hot or cold with potatoes in a white (béchamel) sauce. An ideally convenient and cheap food for traveller. 

Slátur – Blood and liver puddings
Slátur is a traditional Icelandic food, prepared every year in the months of September and October when the slaughtering season is at its peak. There are two types of slátur: blóðmör (blood pudding) and lifrarpylsa (liver pudding). Blóðmör consists of sheep´s blood, meal, suet and spices, mixed together and sewn up in sheep stomachs. Lifrarpylsa is quite similar, the difference being that instead of blood minced lamb liver is used. The puddings are boiled for 3 hours and generally served with creamed potatoes or mashed swede turnips. Precooked slátur which only needs to be heated and can also be fried is available at all stores.

 Skyr – an Icelandic dairy product

Akin to yogurt and the German Quark, skyr is a dairy product with a very low fat content. Usually eaten with milk or cream, sometimes sprinkled with sugar and often berries when in season; it can of course be eaten plain. Varieties of skyr with added berries and fruits are also available.

 
Þorramatur – Traditional Icelandic foods

In addition to smoked and salted lamb, singed sheep heads, dried fish and rye pancakes (flatbrauð), traditional Icelandic food includes shark and various pickled foodstuffs, chiefly meat, that have been allowed to stand in whey for 3-4 months. Þorramatur is particularly associated with the period January-March.

 
Icelandic milk products

 Icelandic milk is one of nature´s bounties, of which its countrymen are rightly proud. Through the centuries, this delicate product has been handled with respect and now, in recent years, with imaginative flair. The Icelandic dairy industry is subject to strict production control and all products must meet the high level of quality expected by the public.

 

Nýmjólk
Whole milk, 3.9%(pasteurised).

Léttmjólk
Low-fat milk, 1.5%
(pasteurised).

Undanrenna
Skimmed milk, 0.1%
(pasteurised).

 Fjörmjólk

Semi-skimmed milk, 0.3%.

Calcium and protein-

enriched fortified with vitamins A + D

(pasteurised).

Dreitill
Low-fat milk 1.5%.
Fortified with vitamin D
(pasteurised)

Lífræn mjólk
Organic nonhomogenised
Whole milk, 4.1%
(pasteurised).

 G-mjólk

Whole milk, 3.9%,

long-life (UHT).

 
Stoðmjólk

Follow-on milk for

babies aged 6-24

months.

 
Kókómjólk

Chocolate milk,

low-fat, 2.0%,

long-life (UHT).

 
Rjómi

Cream, 36% (pasteurised).

Matreiðslurjómi
Light cream, 15%
(pasteurised).

 Kaffirjómi

Coffee cream, 12%,

long-life (UHT).

 
Sýrður rjómi

Crème fraiche:

5%, 10% or 18%;

spiced/flavoured

Súrmjólk
Cultured milk, 3.9%

Mysa
Whey pasteurised) 




Skyr
Traditional Icelandic non-fat dairy
product with creamy texture. Plain or  flavoured with fruit.

Skyr.is
Flavoured non-fat protein-rich drink  with creamy texture, 
made from the traditional Icelandic 
dairy product skyr.

Óskajógúrt
Yoghurt – plain with fruits or flavoured, 3.4% low-fat 1.3%. 

Létt drykkjarjógúrt
Flavoured, low-fat 
drinking yoghurt 1.3%. 

LGG+
Probiotic, skimmed non-fat milk drink with Lactobacillus GG

 

Icelandic meat

 Iceland offers a fine variety of meats: lamb, pork, and beef, as well as a limited amount of horse meat and reindeer. Meat display counters are always well stocked with quality fresh meat, handled by top class butchers. Iceland has strict regulations relating to the handling and storage of meat and the use of hormones is strictly forbidden.

 

Icelandic             

Kjöt       

Lamb    

Naut     

Svín       

Folald   

Hreindýr             

Læri      

Lærissneið         

Hryggur               

Kótilettur/rifjur

Frampartur        

Frampartssneiðar

Hamborgarhryggur

London lamb     

Hangikjöt            

English

Meat    

Lamb    

Beef     

Pork      

Horsemeat (Foal)

Reindeer            

Leg        

Slices of leg

Saddle/rack

Cutlets/chops

Shoulder             

Shoulder slices

Smoked saddle of pork

Ligthly smoked lamb

Smoked lamb

Icelandic             

Kjötfars               

Kjöthakk             

Lundir  

Hryggvöðvi (filé)              

Smásteik (gúllas)             

Súpukjöt             

Afturhryggsneið (T-bein)

Hamborgarar    

Rifjasteik            

Skinka  

Beikon (flesk)   

Saltkjöt

Reykt kjöt          

Kálfasneið (schnitzel)

English

Sausage meat (f. Meatballs)

Minced meat

Tenderloin

Fillet

Boneless stewing meat

Pot stew meat (with bones)

T-bone steak

Hamburgers

Rib steak

Ham

Bacon

Salted meat

Smoked meat

Veal schnitzel