Pick Your Own
There’s nothing quite like getting outdoors and picking your own fruit and with so much on offer here in the UK, you could say that we’re rather spoiled. Each season has its own bounty and there’s so much that you can do with the spoils of a trip to the hedgerow or local pick-your-own farm.
Here’s what you should be looking out for right now.
In season from July through to September blackberries are abundant in hedgerows throughout the country. Go off the beaten track to avoid berries that are near roadsides.
Blackberries are super versatile, from jams and jellies to baked in a pie with apples, but we love them made into a Bramble cocktail; gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and blackberries cooked down with a little water and pressed through a sieve, all shook together in a shaker and served over ice. Garnish with a fresh berry.
If you’re not lucky enough to have an apple tree in your garden then chances are you’ll know someone who does, and throughout September and October they’ll be drowning in windfalls.
If the apples are eating apples (sweet) and not cooking apples (sour) then you can get creative with them as a garnish. Try with a good vodka, we like Bison Grass Vodka, cloudy apple juice, ice and thin slices of apple.
Late autumn sees rosehips in abundance; they’re the ‘fruit’ of the rosebush and appear once the flowers have died back. Did you know that they have 10 times more vitamin C than oranges?
Rosehip syrup is the best use of these bulbous berries. It’s made with equal amounts of sugar to rosehip and double the amount of water. Boiled together and strained through a fine sieve or muslin. Use as a fragrant flavour to prosecco and watch your fizz turn pink.
Sloe berries are the fruit of the blackthorn bush and are found in hedgerows throughout the British countryside. They are ripe in late autumn but tradition states that they’re best picked after the first frost.
Sloe gin is the obvious choice for a haul of sloe berries. It’s perfect on its own as a warming nip but also great as a base for cocktails and in a glass of fizz. To make, wash the fruit, prick the skins of each berry, add to a large bottle of sugar and gin and leave for a couple of months. Add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough.
Strawberries and Raspberries
Perhaps the nation’s favourite soft fruits? Probably so! You don’t need to drive far to find a pick-your-own farm to get stuck in to. And when we’ve had a good summer such as this year’s then late summer harvests mean you can enjoy these British classics for even longer.
Both fruits are perfect garnishes for prosecco, especially in a classic Kir Royale. If you’d like to prolong the summer a bit longer use them for a red berry Pimm’s, or try Bloom’s gin-based Summer Cup for a fruity change.
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