Few things taste better than a ripe raspberry picked on a warm day and eaten from the hand. To my mind strawberries are great but raspberries are better. They tend to be fairly expensive so are a crop worth finding room for, even if just in a potThere are two main types of raspberry – summer fruiting and autumn fruiting. Summer fruiting varieties produce fruit on last year’s growth and tend to crop heavily over a shortish period. Varieties include Ruby Beauty, Valentina, Malling Minerva, Octavia and Joan J. Autumn fruiting varieties produce fruit on this season’s growth and crop over a longer period. If space is at a premium, then autumn fruiting varieties are probably best. Varieties include Autumn Bliss, Autumn Treasure and All Gold.
There’s also a choice of colours. We tend to think of raspberries as being red but varieties are available in colours ranging from black to golden yellow.
Most varieties will need some support and training but once in place raspberries are an easy fruit to grow.
Pick the fruit in dry weather as it bruises easily when wet. Store in the fridge but the fruits will need using within a couple of days. If you are lucky enough to have a glut, then the good news is that raspberries can be enjoyed in many ways:
– Cooked and turned into jam, curd or jelly
– Frozen individually on a tray and then in a freezer bag
– Made into vinegar for eating with goat’s cheese or fish
– Mixed with crème and piled onto meringue to make a wonderful pavlova
If none of the above appeal, then how about making raspberry gin? Of course, this is as well as sloe gin, not instead of!
You will need:
450g ripe raspberries
225g granulated sugar
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Gently heat the raspberries and sugar in a pan. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved in the fruit juices. Transfer to a Kilmer jar and pour in the gin. Give the jar a little shake each day for 5 days. Strain back into the original gin bottle and store in a dark cupboard. Your gin will be ready to drink after 4 months but will be better if left for a year.