By Ren Behan
There’s one sure sign that summer is here – seeing the ‘Pick Your Own’ fruit notices at the side of the road telling us that summer fruits are ready for picking. At our local fruit farm, we can pick strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. It’s a great activity to do with children and picking your own fruit means that you’ll be getting your hands on some of the sweetest and freshest berries you’ve tasted all year – whilst supporting local farmers.
The best way forward with freshly picked fruit is to eat it as soon as you can, so here are three quick and easy fruit recipes you can make with any summer fruits.
First to grab my attention were these Quick individual strawberry and vanilla trifles, which can be made in just a few minutes and look pretty, too. Jamie cooks the strawberries down a little, but you may not need to if the fruit is very ripe. Any berries work well in this recipe, too. You can also use any leftover cake that you have, or madeleine’s or sponge fingers. If you are making these mini trifles for kids, soak the cake in apple juice instead of Limoncello liqueur.
Smoothie ice lollies are another favourite with the kids. You’ll need 300g frozen mixed berries. If your fruit is fresh, wash and then spread the berries out on a tray in a single layer to freeze – that way, the fruit won’t stick together in a clump. You’ll also need some ice lolly moulds for this recipe, which you can find in most supermarkets now.
One of my earliest childhood food memories is of picking our own fruit in a never-ending field of strawberries, hitching rides on the farmer’s tractor to take our hand-picked bounty in to be weighed. Keeping up the tradition, at the very start of this year’s fruit season, I took along some spiced hot chocolate sauce I’d made at home and some Amaretti biscuits. After picking, paying and giving the fruit a quick wash, we made Jamie’s Summer fruit with Amaretti biscuits & hot chocolate sauce right on the spot! This would also make a great picnic dessert; just keep the fruit, sauce and Amaretti biscuits in separate containers until you are ready to assemble and eat.
You really can’t beat picking your own fruit for freshness and it’s so much more satisfying than throwing a plastic carton into the trolley at the shops. I hope you’ll be inspired to find a local fruit farm!
Ren Behan is a food writer and mum of two. Find out more on www.renbehan.com