Juicy berries are a delicious highlight of the summer months. There’s plenty of choice and loads of ways to enjoy them, too.
Getting the best from your berries
To wash berries, put them in a sieve and dip into a bowl of water. If you like, remove the hull of a strawberry by cutting a ‘V’ into the berry around the stalk, then gently tug.
Most berries are best kept in the fridge. To freeze, spread on a tray and open-freeze, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Use frozen berries in smoothies and desserts.
For optimum flavour, eat berries at room temperature. Berries that need cooking, such as black and redcurrants, aronia and gooseberries, are best with a touch of sugar.
Some popular varieties of berries
Bright red, tiny berries with a tart flavour and best used in cooking, UK redcurrants are available from July to September. Cook into a sauce to enjoy with game, or make into a coulis.
Crisp berries bursting with juice – the silvery bloom that coats the skin shows the fruit is ripe. British blueberries are available from June to September. Great for snacking or making into jam.
These velvety berries belong to the rose family and are carefully hand-picked due to their delicate nature. UK varieties are at their best between July and August. Enjoy with dark chocolate.
Plump, glossy blackberries have a tangy flavour. UK varieties are available from May to November, but are at their best between August and October. They’re great in sweet bakes.
Juicy British strawberries are at their best between June and July. Complement their sweetness with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. They also go well with creamy avocado.
Meet the Expert: Sabina Wyant, technical manager, berries
What makes the perfect berry?
I taste the berries on a weekly basis to make sure we select the sweetest fruit. People tend to eat with their eyes so the fruit has to look appetising, with a good colour, consistent size and no bruising. Perfectly ripe berries have a fruity aroma. They should be sweet, too.
How many varieties can we expect to see in store?
We can have around 20 different UK varieties of strawberry in store over the UK season – but never at one time. We source as many British berries as possible over the summer months. A lot of work goes into bringing a new berry to the market. We work closely with the growers, trialing and testing varieties for up to six years before they are ready. We have a customer tasting panel, too. We want to get it right first time when we introduce it to stores.
What’s your favourite berry?
That’s a tough one – I taste so many in this job. My favourite British berry has to be the finest* Driscoll Jubilee strawberry. It’s incredibly sweet and juicy. If there’s a punnet in the fridge I’ve got to be quick and get to them before my daughter eats them all!
Why not try the Very berry knickerbocker glory recipe featured in this issue?
As featured in Tesco Magazine June 2014.