During the radiant British summer, nature gifts us with an enchanting array of luscious and vibrant fruits. From the cherished strawberries that are a juicy allure to the succulent raspberries that offer a blend of sweetness and tanginess in every bite, these seasonal jewels encapsulate the essence of the season. These mushy treasures not only delight our taste buds but also offer a plethora of nutritional benefits. Whether we savour them fresh, elevate them in culinary masterpieces, or preserve their essence for the colder days, British summer fruits embody nature's bounty that brings a burst of colour, flavour, and joy to our lives.
Strawberries are the coveted jewels of the British summer. They are juicy and exude an irresistible charm that captivates both the young and old. With their alluring ruby-red hue and sweet, fragrant aroma, these fruits conjure memories of warm picnics and sun-kissed fields. Elsanta, Jubilee, Sonata, Malling Centenary, Honeoye, Malwina, Florence, Alice, etc. are some of the famous varieties of strawberries grown in Britain. Strawberries are not just enjoyed fresh but also as sundaes, ice cream, scones, sorbet, cocktails, smoothies, salads, and more.
Raspberries are exquisite summer fruits that come in vibrant hues of red. They are a delightful blend of sweetness and tartness. Glen Ample variety is prized for its high yield and large size, perfect for fresh consumption and desserts, while Tulameen's intense sweetness and vibrant red colour make it ideal for various dishes. These versatile berries are used in fresh snacking, desserts, jams, smoothies, sauces, and more. They add a burst of freshness to the dishes and visual appeal to culinary creations.
Blackberries, known for their rich, deep purple colour, grow abundantly in the UK during the summers. The countryside of England, Scotland, and Wales offer ideal conditions for blackberries to flourish. They are widely found in hedgerows and pick-your-own farms, which makes them a popular choice for nature walks and outdoor excursions. Chester Blackberry and Loch Ness Blackberry are the two most famous and delicious varieties of blackberry in Britain. Blackberries are perfect for pies, crumbles, and homemade jams.
Blueberries thrive in certain regions of Britain, especially in areas with acidic soil and a temperate climate, such as Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Kent, Herefordshire, and Norfolk. The two most famous varieties are Duke and Bluecrop – both are incredibly sweet and flavourful berries. Blueberries are used in various culinary delights such as pies, muffins, and smoothies or simply enjoyed fresh. Their nutritional benefits and versatility make them a popular choice in sweet and savoury dishes, as well as in refreshing beverages.
Gooseberries are a slightly tart fruit that ripens during the summer months. Lancashire, in the northwest of England, is famous for its gooseberries. This place has a long history of gooseberry growing, and the region even hosts an annual event called the Gooseberry Show, where growers showcase their finest and largest gooseberries. These juicy fruits are used in pies, jam, sorbet, crumbles, and chutneys. They are often green or red in colour and offer a distinctive flavour that perfectly complements a variety of dishes.
Known for their bright red hue and tangy taste, redcurrants add a burst of colour and flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes. Worcestershire, Kent, Scotland, and Herefordshire offer a bountiful supply of these flavourful berries during summer. They are commonly used in desserts, sauces, and jellies as they add a touch of their tartness along with some sweetness to summer recipes.
Blackcurrants are rich in vitamin C and have a distinct sweet-tart taste that sets them apart. The places of Worcestershire, Kent, Scotland, and Herefordshire offer the ideal climate for blackcurrants. Ben Sarek variety is the most popular variety of this summer fruit. The plant is small and can easily be grown in home gardens. They are popular in jams, cordials, and desserts like crumbles and pies. Additionally, blackcurrants are essential in the production of the famous British beverage, Ribena.
British cherries, whether sweet or sour, are eagerly anticipated during the summer season. Sweet cherries are often enjoyed fresh, while sour cherries find their way into pies, tarts, and preserves. The cherry-picking season is a joyous family occasion and a delightful outdoor activity.
Even though peaches are not native to Britain, the British have found ways to grow them. British-grown peaches have become increasingly popular because of the advancements in greenhouse cultivation. Generally, peaches have hues from yellow to orange, with a reddish blush on the skin. Some peach varieties have more intense shades of red, while others may have a paler yellow colour. Their flesh is soft, and they are sweet and refreshing. These juicy and aromatic stone fruits are perfect for enjoying fresh or adding to fruit salads and desserts.
Similar to peaches in appearance and taste, nectarines are smooth-skinned variants of the same species. They are widely cultivated in Kent, Sussex, and Cornwall. Nectarines are available in various colours ranging from yellow to orange and red. Nectarines are versatile fruits that are used in various culinary creations, including desserts, salads, smoothies, and jams. They are best enjoyed fresh when fully ripe.
British apricots are known for their velvety skin and juicy interior. They are sweet when ripe but sometimes may have a slightly tart taste. They are a rare gem during the summer months. The warm climate of Cornwall, Devon, and Sussex are perfect for growing apricots. They can be enjoyed fresh or used in desserts like tarts, cobblers, and compotes.
Plums are delicious stone fruits that come in various colours, including red, purple, yellow, and green. They have smooth skin and sweet and juicy flesh that ranges from slightly tart to very sweet, depending on the variety. They are cultivated in orchards and home gardens across the country. Some popular varieties of plums grown in Britain include Victoria, Marjorie's Seedling, and Opal. Plums are enjoyed in a wide range of dishes like plum crumbles, pies, tarts, and puddings. They are also used to make jams, preserves, and chutneys. Additionally, plums are commonly dried to make prunes, a popular and nutritious dried fruit.
Elderberries are small, dark purple to blackish berries that grow in clusters on the elder tree. They have a unique flavour that is both tart and slightly sweet. Elderberries are not typically eaten raw because of their tartness and the presence of small seeds, but they are commonly used in culinary creations after being cooked, dried, or processed. Elderberries have been traditionally used in the UK to make elderberry wine, elderberry syrup, and jams. They are also used in pies, tarts, and various desserts.
From the sun-kissed fields to the kitchen tables, these summer fruits are a testament to the beauty and bounty of the British summer.