Tag Archives: berries

Beautiful berries – raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, red currants and dessert gooseberries.

The berry patch looks like a jungle; all the rain has produced loads of lush green growth that has tangled together. The fruitcage looks like it may fall down at any moment, but  it is doing its job. The birds seem to be leaving the berries alone and despite the weather the berries  are ripening.

Picking them is not for the faint hearted as you really do need to fight your way in. During a break in the rain this afternoon, I braved the jungle and was rewarded with a fine selection of produce!

There are still many un-ripened berries on the bushes with no sign of any blueberries yet. I picked a few from each bush but the glut has still to appear.

I think the first berry crop needs to be eaten as it is, fresh and unaltered. Others I will jam, freeze, stew and jelly but these I think will just be enjoyed in the pure form – yummy! I love the taste of fresh summer berries and hope this harvest will be the first of many more.

Can you spot the glimmer of berries hidden in the bushy, wild and overgrown fruit cage?

The only pests we have are slugs! They have been having a wonderful  munch on my strawberries that I having lovingly tended all spring.  The straw surrounding them is very soggy, probably providing a cosy home for slugs and snails. Hubby suggested a beer trap – I think I will give it a try!

Her x

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Flowering strawberry plants

My strawberry plants are covered with flowers. As they grow in grow bags, I have made sure I have watered them through the warm spell we have recently had. They look well and promise a bumper harvest. I planted at least six varieties last year, hoping to spread the glut. The most unusual is a variety with red flowers. I think it is called Tapan.  Can anyone confirm that?

Last year they were just settling in so didn’t produce much. They seem happy enough in grow bags. I added a mulch of homemade compost in spring and a layer of straw to keep them clean. I am hoping that, as this is their second summer, these plants will crop well.

I hope I have so many strawberries that I can make jam – that is if they survive the kids!

Her x

Strawberry and vanilla butterfly cupcakes

The Big Girl (age 9) decided to make some cakes today. She recruited help from Little Girl (age 5).  I find that in these situations, I am best out of the way. I worry that they will make a mess, break things or hurt themselves. In reality they have fun, enjoy the independence and produce some amazing results!

Today did not disappoint…

Hubby was so impressed with the girl’s organisational skills that he thought he would record what they did.

Her x

Berry jelly

The berries we pick always need using quickly as they never last that long, even in the fridge.  I find one of the best ways to keep soft fruit is to cover them in jelly. The little girl and boy had both helped pick so they were very keen to help eat! We picked over the berries to remove stalks and then rinsed under the tap. We filled a bowl full and made up some raspberry jelly. The jelly needs to cover the fruit completely so it is important to choose the right sized bowl.  It set overnight in the fridge and was a huge success served as pudding. All three little darlings loved it and asked for more!

Blackcurrants, red currants and dessert gooseberries in jelly.

Huge success as pudding!

The best of the rest of the berries were frozen for future use, the squishy ones (mostly picked by little girl ) were cooked up with sugar and are sitting in the fridge ready to be made into a summer pudding.  I have also reserved a huge pan of blackcurrants  for jam making. I will post  pictures when I get round to some quality kitchen time.

As for today, I am hoping to make a mange tout soup as I have a glut that needs using up. I am planning to have a walk round the garden later and pick anything I think that may go well in my soup. I have some lovely mint, fennel and celery that may cook well together. Much to my husbands annoyance I am not one for recipes. I am more likely to see what I have got and try and cook it together in a proportion that tastes good. This does mean that I am very unlikely to make the same thing twice. The little ones enjoy a wide variety of food and we usually call things by a general name. Tonights dinner, for example, will be ‘Green Soup’.  Green Soup can include anything green such as courgettes, broccoli, peas, parsley or lettuce. The familiarity comes with colour rather than taste!

Green soup ingredients

Today's green soup ingredients

Her x

Useful kids and summer berries

It happens about twice a year; the sun comes up, the wind stays down, and it feels as though you’re on holiday in your own country, for 24 hours or so at least. It’s rarer still that it happens on a weekend so even better that we ended up at our friend’s house enjoying a barbie.

After a swift cut of the grass, the veg plot called our attention. After a three-week break through holidays and emergency appendectomy, the weeds had taken full control. Whilst the veg plot was undoubtably full, it was getting difficult to see the food underneath all the leaf cover.

Now, usually when weeding is suggested as the activity for the afternoon, the kids run a mile. But today, armed with his mini fork, the boy set about weeding the sweetcorn and, rather amazingly, he did a brilliant job. I think the key trick here was having plants that look completely different from the weeds…otherwise it could have been a different story.

Sweetcorn weeding

The boy's weeding efforts

His next job was helping mum harvest the summer berries – blackcurrants, redcurrants and a few early gooseberries. They all live in our old converted chicken run which helps keep the birds out – but does little for the neighbour’s rats, which have munched their way through half of this year’s strawberry crop.  Still, much chuffed with the haul of berries, for which there are now great plans in the offing.

Summer berries