How to make the most of delicious summer fruits

From the first sweet strawberries, to apricots, tropical mangoes, tart raspberries and more, the summer months are filled with juicy berries and stone fruits. They’re incredibly versatile ingredients and can be used in fruity bakes, drinks and even savoury dishes. Learn how to make the most of delicious summer fruits while they’re at their best with the top tips below.

  1. From simple bakes...

    Add colour to your bakes with fresh British berries and cherries. Keep it simple with a batch of classic blueberry muffins or try a retro twist with this cherry Bakewell muffin recipe – the berries keep the sponge moist and add sweet bursts of flavour to every bite. For a twist on brownies, try these sweet, white chocolate strawberry blondies instead.

  2. ...to stunning centrepieces

    If you're feeling a bit more ambitious, this stunning Pimm’s layer cake makes an impressive summer centrepiece, while this beautiful poke cake is filled with blueberry compote which runs down holes you ‘poke’ into the cake. For a special occasion, this lemon, tea and blueberry cake is perfect with a glass of fizz or afternoon tea. 

  3. Brilliant breakfasts and brunches

    A fruity start to the day is sure to set you off on the right foot. Top granola, muesli or overnight oats with fresh berries or chopped fruit for something quick and easy on busy weekdays. These layered raspberry chia puddings feel like a treat but can be made in advance, too. For a more indulgent weekend brunch, you can’t beat sweet, fluffy pancakes. These banana and spelt pancakes are topped with juicy blueberries, or go exotic with mango, lime and coconut pancakes instead.

  4. Stock up the freezer

    Fresh berries won’t keep for very long, so if you have a glut make the most of your freezer. For best results, wash well then spread your berries over a baking tray to keep separate and place uncovered in the freezer. Once frozen solid, transfer to resealable bags or freezerproof boxes to store. Serve frozen berries with hot chocolate sauce poured over for a delicious pud, or whizz into smoothies for breakfast. 

    Another way to fill the freezer is with a gorgeous frozen dessert, try this layered raspberry ice cream cake for a dinner party or this Eton mess semifreddo for summer gatherings.

  5. Chilled out treats

    When the sun’s out, a stash of frozen fruit lollies will help you cool down. Have a go at these pretty pink raspberry frozen smoothies, tropical pineapple and kiwi lollies or unusual roasted nectarine and miso ice pops.

  6. Thirst-quenching drinks and summer tipples

    Hosting a summer get-together or barbecue? You can’t go wrong with the British summer classic of Pimm’s and lemonade topped with sliced strawberries and cucumber or try muddling tart blackberries into a sparkling elderflower gin fizz. For a mocktail with a twist, this vanilla chai iced tea recipe is full of sweet spices and juicy peaches and this strawberry cooler is infused with fragrant thyme sprigs.

  7. Super summer salads

    Summer fruits can work wonders in savoury dishes, too, adding a hit of sweetness. Keep things fresh with a summery salad such as this griddled peach and beetroot recipe, where the lightly charred fruit takes on a gorgeous smoky depth. Cherries also make an unusual but delicious addition to this fennel salad recipe. For something a little more portable, this layered chicken and nectarine salad is perfect for a picnic or lunch on the go.

  8. Spicy salsas and slaws

    For something a little different, try making a fruity, tangy salsa or slaw. Vibrant mango adds sunshine to any plate and goes particularly well with avocado in a salsa for this fragrant cumin sea bass or in a slaw for this Hawaiian chicken recipe. Crisp nectarine pairs brilliantly with basil for a really refreshing salsa to match grilled prawn skewers.

  9. Delicious desserts

    A fresh, fruity dessert is the perfect finish to a special summer meal without being too rich or heavy. Keep things simple with a dessert which puts fruit centre stage such as these glorious roasted cherries with chocolate sauce. Alternatively, have a go at these three easy healthy berry treat recipes – each a delicious individual dessert that you can whip up in no time.

  10. Preserving for later

    Making your own jam is a great way to ensure you’ve always got a taste of summer to hand, whatever the weather outside. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make strawberry jam and ensure you get perfect conserve every time. For kids, fruit leather makes a great chewy snack and keeps well for easy nibbles on the go. Don’t be put off by the long cooking time – all that’s required is a bit of blitzing before drying out in a cool oven for a few hours.