By Sarah Buchanan. First published by Rattan Direct on 7 August 2016.
It is getting to that garden glut time of year. Here – the raspberries have arrived in force.
After a week of breakfast, lunch and supper with raspberries, and having given bowls full of fruit to neighbours, I need to take action to keep their wonderful summery taste for winter. If you are in the same boat, read on – and if you aren’t, but love raspberries, find a Pick Your Own farm with raspberries for you to eat, cook, enjoy (it makes a great summer holiday outing too).
What to do with the best raspberries?
- Eat them fresh.
- Freeze them. To keep their shape when you thaw them it is best to spread the berries over a flat tray then put the frozen berries into boxes to store.
And the not-so-good raspberries?
Here are three of my favourite recipes to enjoy the taste of summer later in the year.
‘Uncooked’ raspberry conserve
This amazingly fresh tasting conserve lasts for about a month. It is perfect with a cream tea or to fill a sponge cake (and on bread or toast!).
Place equal weights of raspberries and of white sugar in two separate ovenproof bowls, and place in an oven at 180C/ 350F / gas mark 4 for 20 minutes until the contents of the bowls are hot.
Wearing good oven gloves remove the bowls and quickly mix their contents together until the sugar has dissolved, lightly crushing the berries as you mix.
Warm small clean, dry jam jars. For guidance on how many you need, 500gms of berries and 500gms of sugar just filled 3.5 small ‘pesto’ jars here.
Leave the conserve to stand for 5 or 10 minutes and then pour, or use a ladle, to fill the jars almost to the top. Add a waxed disc and jam pot cover.
Store in the fridge, and aim to use within a month.
This home-made version of ‘framboise’ is a great tipple on winter nights. It needs to be left for at least 3 months – did anyone mention Christmas? It will taste better if kept longer and will keep for much longer (if you can). Vary the amount you make by sticking to the proportions of fruit, sugar and brandy listed below.
Mash 450gms / 1lb of raspberries in a bowl and either put a tight lid on it or tip the mash into a storage jar with a close fitting lid. Leave for 3 days, stirring 2 or 3 times a day.
On the 4th day, add 110 / 4oz white caster sugar to the fruit and stir in 375 ml / 5/8 pint of brandy (cheapest does the job) and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
Tightly cover the mix again and leave in a cool, dark place for 1 month.
Pour the mix through a fine sieve over a jug. Squeeze every last drop of the liquid from the mix (it is too good to lose!). To remove fine particles, I pour the liquid through a coffee filter or piece of muslin in a clean sieve. This can take some time and as long as you don’t shake the bottle before you serve it the fine deposits won’t harm you.
Pour the liquid into clean glass or stoneware bottles and firmly fix the lid, cork or stopper. Hide the bottle at the back of a cupboard for 6 months or more, then put your feet up and taste summer all over again.
This flavoured vinegar tastes good on a salad of bitter leaves, where the sweetness of the raspberries counters the leaves’ bitterness. 15ml/ 1 tablespoon mixed with iced water also makes a refreshing summery drink.
Pour 300ml / ½ pint red wine vinegar over 225 gm / ½ lb raspberries (frozen or fresh berries) in a bowl or plastic container and cover tightly. Leave to stand in a warm place for 5-7 days, stirring every day.
Put another 225gm / ½ lb raspberries in another bowl. Strain the liquid from the first bowl onto the second, and add another 225 gm / ½ lb raspberries to the mix.
Again, leave in a warm place for 5-7 days and stir every day.
Strain the mix through a jelly bag or a muslin-lined sieve. I then strain the liquid through a coffee filter to remove fine particles but this is time-consuming and needs a few filters. If you don’t do this, be careful not to shake the bottle before you use it and be ready to find a fine deposit at the bottom.
Pour the liquid into clean bottles and add a cork, stopper or lid.
Store for at least 1 month before using.
Find more recipes
There are lots more raspberry recipes to try – each so good that you might want to grow more raspberries next year. Come back to our autumn blogs to find out which varieties might suit your garden.