Summer in Britain is synonymous with berries; strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries are all seasonal from June until late summer. Whether you are lucky enough to have an abundance of fruits growing near your home or even in your own gardens, or if the market will have to do, the possibilities are endless. From decorating cakes and cocktails, to making jam, having a star ingredient in an indulgent pudding (or throwing them all together) the berry might be small, but it really is mighty.
The strawberry is perhaps Britain’s best-loved berry. It evokes images of champagne, Wimbledon and fields of sun-kissed rows of green and red. It is of course one of the main players in an Eton Mess, a summer classic whose name’s origins are subject to debate but is generally believed to have first been served at a cricket match between Eton College and Harrow School in the late 19th century. It was in fact supposed to be a strawberry and meringue pudding which was dropped on the floor and salvaged in a chaotic state… This delicious version by Nigella is as tasty and indulgent as you can imagine.
Felicity Cloake’s Gooseberry and Elderflower Fool is summer in a bowl. The elderflower gives it a softer taste – as sometimes the gooseberry can be a little tart.
With a nod to her recently launched book How To Eat A Peach, we’ve included this White Peach and Raspberry Jam by Diana Henry. The two flavours complement each other perfectly, and make al fresco breakfasts extra dreamy.
We love this Blackberry and Pecan Tart from Thomasina Miers. Serve with a generous dollop of ice-cream.
If you can’t pick just one berry, why not opt for the classic Summer Pudding? We like this version by BBC Good Food, because instead of one big dish, you’ll be creating individual puds. There are five different berries involved – strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blueberries and blackberries – making it burst with flavour, and yet this is a low-fat recipe with relatively little added sugar.
Any excess berries can always be frozen: perfect for Autumn jam-making.