Alongside the fantastic weather we have a selection of summer berries arriving in the fridges every day from local growers and English growers.
Considered by many to be among the finest flavoured berries due to it’s intense sweet flavour. The raspberry is believed to have originated in Eastern Asia and first became popular in the 17th century. 18th century cookery writers began developing recipies for the berries such as jams, deserts, vinegar and raspberry wine.
Although we love Cornish raspberries, Scotland became famous for the quality of the fruit it was producing during the 1950’s. Raspberries were taken from Scotland to Covent Garden via a steam train known as the Raspberry Special.
The raspberry is one of the healthier berries as they contain more vitamin C than oranges, they are high in fibre and contain folic acid. The humble raspberry is also high in potassium, vitamin A and calcium.
The world’s most expensive Krispy Kreme doughnut ($1,682) featured a raspberry and passion fruit syrup as well as 24 karat gold leaf and a 500-year-old Courvoisier de L’Esprit Cognac.
For those looking for some inspiration here are 10 things to do with raspberries courtesy of BBC Good Food.
Of all the currants, blackcurrants are the most intensely coloured and flavoured. Highly aromatic and with a delicious tart flavour, blackcurrants are at their peak during June and July.
Native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia, the blackcurrant is a woody shrub grown for its berries. Widely cultivated both domestically and commercially, the plant prefers damp, fertile soil.
As a domesticated crop, blackcurrants have only been around for the last 400-500years in Britain with the cultivars of the blackcurrants significantly advancing the fruit from their wild progenitors. They have selected a range of desirable attributes to create the most flavoursome of fruit. One of these attributes which UK cultivars have aspired to is the deep purple colour of the blackcurrant. This indicates a high level of anthocyanins. Another attribute is a benefit to the environment in its resistance to pests and diseases.
Historically, the variety Baldwin was the mainstay of the blackcurrant industry thought to be over 150 years old. This variety along with others such as Lee’s Porlific, Boskoop Giant and Wellington XXX are all old varieties which can still be found today all be it in small quantities. The “Ben” varieties are now more commonly used these include; Ben Lomond, Ben Alder, Ben More, Ben Tirran, Ben Hope, Ben Avon and Ben Dorain. All of these varieties can be commonly found throughout Britain with Ben Hope being the most widely home grown variety.
All fruits have some health benefits however; blackcurrants are especially good for you. Packed with antioxidants including anthocyanins and vitamin C, blackcurrants are now known as part of a select group of “Super fruits! Whether eaten in a pie, drunk in cordial form or spread on toast, there is a whole host of benefits to human health and well being.
Blackcurrants can be eaten raw although, they are usually cooked in a variety of ways for both savoury and sweet dishes. Used to make jellies, jams and syrups as well as for the preparation of alcoholic beverages. Both the foliage and the fruit have uses in the preparation of dyes and in traditional medicine. As much as 95% of Britain’s blackcurrants are squashed into the distinctive purple bottles of Ribena which is the most popular way that British people get their fix of blackcurrants.
More seasonal berries.
The Loganberry is a hybrid variety that was developed in 1881 when American judge and horticulturist James Harvey Logan crossed raspberries and blackberries. the loganberry resembles the blackberry more than the raspberry, but the fruit color is a dark red, rather than black as in blackberries. the loganberries flavour works well with other berries and is often mixed with blackberries, raspberries and strawberries in seasonal fruit deserts.
Gooseberries are a species of Ribes which are part of the currant group (including blackcurrants). Native to north-western Africa; south, west and southeast Asia as well as Europe, the gooseberry bush produces an edible fruit (the gooseberry) and is grown on both a domestic and commercial scale. First cultivated in the sixteenth century in Britain, they were originally used for medicinal purposes and were recommended to plague victims in London. When gooseberry pies, wines and puddings became commonplace, the fruit reached a peak of popularity. Amateur gooseberry clubs held fiercely-fought competitions to find the tastiest and largest fruit developing new varieties. However, in 1905, the whole European crop was wiped out by a mildew disease which was accidently introduced from America but, it was reintroduced by crossing a mildew- resistant variety of American gooseberry with a native British variety.
The season starts with the familiar green gooseberry which is the best variety for cooking. These gooseberries will make a delicious gooseberry fool or poached with water and a little sugar to make an accompaniment to mackerel. Later on in the season, the gooseberries are sweet enough to be eaten raw and are a perfect addition to a fruit salad.