Tag Archives: raspberries

Raspberries rule from summer to winter!

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).

Enjoy raspberries now and later in the year. Sarah Buchanan

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.

Savour the taste of raspberries, now and into the winter. Sarah Buchanan

Raspberry brandy

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.

Raspberry vinegar

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.

Summer fruit is so delicious, with cream or without

By Sarah Buchanan. First published by Rattan Direct on 10 July 2016.

Wimbledon and strawberries are on our minds today, and even if you are busy baking our white chocolate and strawberry cookies here’s a reminder of other summer fruit to enjoy!

Not far from my home, Runnington Fruit Farm is selling, and inviting passers by to pick-your-own, summer fruit – raspberries, gooseberries and currants. Mine aren’t quite ready, but I am poised to pick and enjoy. Meanwhile there is a job we all need to do to help ensure a good crop of apples, pears and plums.

Act now for autumn fruit!

Apple, pear and sometimes plum trees produce more baby fruit than they can support. ‘June drop’, when trees shed fruit, is nature’s way of reducing the number of fruit. Gardeners remove some small fruits to ensure that trees can carry their load without strain (plum trees can split under the weight of too heavy a crop) and help the tree produce good sized fruit rather than lots of tiny fruit.

Thin apples. Summer fruit
Thin apples – remove small and damaged fruits to help the tree grow good sized fruits. Sarah Buchanan


Apples thinned to two fruits. Summer fruit
Apples thinned to two fruits. Sarah Buchanan

Carefully nip off tiny fruit, fruit that is in any way damaged and fruit that is rubbing against another.

Summer fruit, summer berries

Gooseberries are such an easy plant. They just don’t need much room or attention. Following my Mother’s advice that no one needs more than three gooseberry bushes, I planted three. Two years later – what a crop! The plants are horribly thorny (thornless varieties do exist), need hardly any attention, and produce enough fruit for yummy tarts and pies, and some jars of tangy jam.

Gooseberries. Summer fruit
Gooseberries are a must. These thorny plants produce a great crop, but protect your hands and arms from the thorns when you pick the fruit. Sarah Buchanan.

Raspberries like a free draining soil  that is a little bit acid, and lots of water. Different varieites, and some attention earlier in the summer, can provide delicious fruit for three or four months that make every minute you spend well worth it. Nothing tastes quite as good as fresh raspberries on breakfast cereal, or with cream in the garden after all those July jobs are done.

And the berries that are the love of my life? Mulberries.

I was fortunate to take on an old mulberry tree. My neighbours thought me mad when I climbed as high as I could and picked buckets of fruit – until they tasted the fruit. It is delicious.

Mulberry fruits. Summer fruit
Mulberries in the US. By Geniac – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4350580

I have never seen these wonderful fruits on sale in the UK, I think because they rot quickly after picking. Pick and eat (or freeze) instantly was my approach. And I shared them with neighbours, and made many good friends through conversations that started with: ‘Would you like some mulberries…’.

If you can, plant a mulberry tree. I am told they take ten years or more to fruit. I have planted a tree in each of my gardens during the past 20 years in the hope that someone in the future will, as I did, discover and share the wonderful fruits.

And what about blackberries? Yes, there will be something on this great hedgerow and garden fruit later in the summer!

Summer fruit, summer currants

Black, red and white currants are a great summer pudding ingredient. Currant bushes are thirsty and so grow well in areas with lots of rain. They ripen in June and July – just the time for summer puddings and jams. Birds are attracted to the red currants – so it’s a race against time to pick the berries for your kitchen. These bushes need more room than gooseberries but are easy to grow. Old stems should be pruned out every few years to keep young healthy growth.  Pruning that keeps the bush in shape is useful – and one of my friends did that and picked the currants in one go: pruning stems laden with currants and taking them back to her garden table, sunhat and coffee.

See you there!