It’s cropping and cooking time!
With end of July already upon us and August just around the corner, now is a great time to consider the large variety of fruit ready to be cropped. July is the opening month for cropping an assortment of fruit, including: apples, grapes and raspberries. However, in this blog, we’ll be focusing on a selection of recipes showcasing cherries, blackberries and blueberries.
This variety of cherry is often known as a cooking cherry as they have a good, strong flavour and can often be a bit too sour to eat on their own. However, this makes them perfect for jams…
Morello Cherry Jam
You will need:
2lb fresh, stoned Morello cherries – keep a few of the cherry kernels (these are found under the hard outer shell of the cherry stones)
2tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2lb preserving/granulated sugar
1 heaped tbsp of butter
2tbsp of Kirsch (optional)
1. Put the cherries, kernels and lemon juice into a pan with 6tbsps of water and cook gently for about 30 minutes until they start to turn soft. Stir gently but often to prevent sticking.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar. Place back on the heat and stir continuously until the sugar has fully dissolved then add the butter.
3. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil for about 25 minutes and stir frequently. Test for a set and as soon as setting point is reached remove the pan from the heat and use a slotted spoon to get rid of any scum. Leave to stand for 15 minutes to prevent the fruit from floating on top then stir in the Kirsch. Pour into clean and warm sterilised jars, cover and then seal when cold.
And if you’re looking for a quicker, more party friendly way to use up your Morello cherries, why not try making Sweet and Sour Cherry Sparklers. A wonderful, fresh summer cocktail.
Sweet and Sour Cherry Sparklers
You will need:
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce room temperature cherry syrup (Recipe below)
Fresh basil for garnish
1. Fill a small glass with ice before adding the vodka, lemon juice and cherry syrup. Shake with a cocktail shaker or stir vigorously then fill with soda water.
2. Garnish with fresh cherries and basil, and enjoy.
1 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh, pitted, ripe Morello cherries
In a small pan heat the water, sugar, and cherries until the sugar has completely dissolved. Mash the cherries then strain through a fine sieve and cool.
Oregon blackberries are a good flavoured fruit that are easy to prune due to their long thorn-free canes.
You will need:
700g fresh blackberries
300g granulated sugar
Juice of 2-4 lemons
1. Put the blackberries in a pan with 150ml of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the berries are fully cooked. Briefly whisk the mixture with a handheld blender and then push it through a fine sieve to remove any remaining seeds.
2. Add the sugar and the juice of 2 lemons to the purée, then taste it. Blackberries vary in acidity and flavour, so if you think the mixture lacks punch, you may want to add more lemon juice. Leave to cool, chill in the fridge if possible.
3. If you’re lucky enough to have an ice-cream maker, put the mixture into the machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If not, pour the mixture into a container and freeze, stirring briefly with a fork every 30 minutes to break up the ice crystals. The sorbet should turn from black to deep pink as it churns and air gets to it. Scoop it into a 1 litre capacity container and cover. It can be stored in the freezer for up to two months. You may want to give it 15-20 minutes at room temperature each time before you serve.
Bluecrop are a variety of large, delicious light blue blueberries with a lovely flavour. These blueberries are ideal for eating fresh or cooking in pies, cakes and of course, muffins.
You will need:
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g light muscovado sugar
50g porridge oats, plus 1 tbsp for topping
2 medium bananas (the riper the better)
284ml carton buttermilk
5 tbsp light olive oil
2 egg whites
150g fresh blueberries
1. Heat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/gas 4) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Save 1 tbsp of the sugar, then mix the remainder with the flour and add 50g oats. Make a well in the centre of the mixture. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until nearly smooth. Stir the buttermilk, oil and egg whites into the mashed banana until evenly combined.
2. Pour the banana mixture into the well and stir quickly and sparingly with a wooden spoon. The mix will be lumpy and may have the odd fleck of flour still visible, but don’t over-mix. Add the blueberries and stir one more time. Separate the mixture into the muffin cases – they will be quite full – then sprinkle the final tbsp of the oats and the rest of the sugar over the top. Bake for 18-20 mins until risen and dark golden. Leave to cool for 5 mins before removing from the tray and placing onto a rack to cool completely.
All our recipes shown here can be prepared using fruit from the trees we have available on our website. If you’ve missed out on growing your own this year, you could always try the recipes with shop-bought, local produce and wait till next year to sample your own delicious fruit straight from the garden.