Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pick Your Own Raspberries

The berry house has been my best friend this season.  It houses raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants but it's the raspberries that I favour.  They are proliferic producers and with over a dozen bushes, they do keep me busy as they require a gentle picking every day!

 But the week of rain just prior to Christmas was more than the raspberries could bear and I could only watch as about 50% of the crop turned to mush.  (Taking solace of course that the garden was getting a well needed drink.)

Fortunately, Cameron, one of the neighbour's boys, came to the rescue and offered to help pick raspberries.  It had been suggested to him by another neighbour - Campbell, so 'thank you Campbell'.  School had finished for the year and Cameron was full of energy so lucky me!

Well - we spent about three hours in that berry house.  Mostly picking off the ruined raspberries and also harvesting the crop of freshly ripened ones which seemed to be ripening right before our eyes.  Two huge punnets went home with Cameron (one for Campbell's family) and two went into my freezer. 

And the berry house was tidy and rid of all the rotten fruit which would have spoiled the rest of the crop.  Thank heavens for helpful neighbours!

So far this season the raspberries have been eaten fresh (delicious with vanilla icecream - unbeatable), mixed into Raspberry Cocktails (thank you Tracey - I must get the recipe from you), and made into a Raspberry Syrup (there are lots of recipies for this simple, delicious syrup but I used Annabel Langbein's one from 'The Free Range Cook' - absolutely outstanding!).  

So if you're not growing raspberries then I recommend that you do.  They are the most wonderful and rewarding berry to grow.  They are the most beautiful colour.  The prickles don't really prick you, and the fruit literally falls off into your hand when you pick them.  And, of course, they are sensationally delicious. So they are a thoroughly worthy crop to grow.

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