The Berries

I wonder, if like me, ‘the berries’ conjures up a big dollop of nostalgia?  I was brought up in rural Aberdeenshire and during the school summer holidays, we kids picked rasps on the local fruit farms to earn some pocket money.  We also knew where all the wild rasps grew and would go with our parents to pick them for jam making.  No wild fruit was ever wasted.  We had gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes in our garden but the redcurrants I grow in my garden now would’ve been considered very exotic!

My two redcurrant bushes grow in my flower border.  I’m a rather lazy gardener and I didn’t want to have to build special fruit cages or dedicate a particular part of my garden to fruit so my red and blackcurrant bushes are next to roses, hydrangea, daisies. I still seem to get quite a crop of these berries, despite the neglect!  If you are too busy to do anything with the berries at the moment, they freeze well.  I sometimes pop a berry in an ice cube; nice to melt in drinks later.

So far I have used the berries for redcurrant muffins, redcurrant jam and black currant cordial.

  • Redcurrant muffins – just follow your favourite muffin recipe using red currants instead. I use the blueberry muffin recipe from the BBC website. (Paul Hollywood from Saturday Kitchen).
  • Redcurrant jam – most folk make redcurrant jelly but I’m also a lazy cook and the jam is easier to make and tastes just as good.
  • Blackcurrant cordial – bring to the boil with sugar to taste and pass through a fine sieve.

The soft fruit season in Fife is a sensory delight: from the joys of fruit picking, through to the smells of jam making and the final tasting – and what a summer to make the most of it all!

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