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British Summer Berries

Saturday 29 June 2013

After the gloom and freezing temperatures in winter followed by the almost endless rain and record breaking cold this spring I'm rejoicing in the sun and warmth of the British summer.  Yes there is still rain and some chilly days but the summer, and the delicious produce it brings, is well and truly here.

My favourite produce in summer, apart from fresh salad greens, is berries.  My family and I cannot get enough of them.  We grow strawberries and raspberries in our back garden and forage for blackberries.  Our plants cannot keep up with our demand for berries so we inevitably traipse off to buy some.

I was delighted to be invited along to a Summer Berry Food Experience evening at Tesco in Hatfield to learn more about where their berries come from and the production process.

We were offered champagne or smoothies on arrival and treated to more berries than we could possibly eat.  In between devouring delicious British berries we were told where the berries were grown, how the berries are picked, graded, packed and transported.

Tesco employ a Berry Technologist, a job I would love to do, to research berry varieties and ensure quality is maintained.  They also have have long-term trading relationships with all of their growers.  All berries are in shops a maximum of 24 hours after being picked.

Did you know:

Strawberries and raspberries do not ripen after being picked.

There are about 200 seeds on a strawberry.

You should store your berries in the fridge but take them out about an hour before serving so that the berries can come to room temperature.  This allows the flavours to fully develop.

Strawberries come in all different shapes and sizes:

Tesco will be stocking new berries to delight out tastebuds this year.  

Mac Black Raspberries – a darker colour, larger in size and sweeter in taste than traditional raspberries.  In season during June and July.

Aronia Berries – look similar to a cranberry and best used in smoothies and cooked in summer puddings.  In season late August to September

Kiwi Berries – these are the size of a grape and can be eaten whole with the skin on.  In season during September.

If you would like some delicious ideas and recipes using British Berries check out Tesco Real Food.

I used some of the contents of my goodie bag to make a Summer Berry Tart.  Spread the inside of an all butter pastry case with a little lemon curd, fill with whipped cream then pile on the berries.  Perfect for a quick but impressive dessert, especially if unexpected company calls around for dinner.

I was the guest of Tesco Real Food, who paid my travel costs to the event.  I was given a goodie bag including store vouchers.  All opinions are my own and I was not required to blog the event as a condition of attendance.  


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