Seasonal fruit and vegetables is one of the best ways to have a varied diet. If you are growing your own produce, this is the time of year you tend to get gluts!
Jam and cordials are the obvious choice for summer fruits. If you don’t have time to make them pop the fruit in the freezer to use in smoothies, crumbles or make jam another day.
Fruit that grows at the same time usually provide good combinations in recipes. Elderflower cordial tastes great with numerous fruit including blackcurrants, strawberries, rhubarb and gooseberries. I also like strawberry and rhubarb as a jam, blackcurrrant and apple or for a unique flavour add a star anise when boiling up the currants.
One of my favourite old time puddings is Summer Fruit Pudding and is very flexible… just use what fruit you have!
Summer Fruit Pudding
In a pan add 600g mixed summer fruits. 4 – 6 tbsp of sugar, 4- 6 tbsp of water or elderberry syrup and warm through until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has broke down.
Line a glass bowl, firstly with cling film then place strips of dry bread with the crusts taken off. Make a disc of bread for the top and the bottom using a round cookie cutter. Place the cooked fruit mix on top of the bread and make sure plenty of juices to soak into the bread. Place the disc of bread on top to seal and cover in foil. Place a heavy object or plate on top and leave to rest preferably overnight. Serve cold with a fruit syrup, cream or ice cream.
Gooseberry jam along with plum is one of the easiest jams to make due to high pectin levels, which helps it set.
Add 750g of gooseberries and 50ml of water or elderberry syrup/cordial in a heavy bottomed pan and cook until soft and broken down (about 15 minutes).
Add juice of one lemon and 750g of sugar and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until the temperature has reached 105C.
Scrape off any scum/froth with a slotted spoon. Pour the jam carefully into sterilized* warm jars (this mix makes approx 6 x 200ml jars).
Gooseberries go great with strawberries or elderflower syrup.
* to sterilize jars – wash in soapy hot water and rinse then pop them on a tray, in the oven for 20 minutes at 150C.
Really easy rustic open pie that can be adapted with any fruit combination. From blackcurrant and peach, rhubarb and strawberry to gooseberry and redcurrants. A recipe for all seasons!
Add 300g of mixed fresh seasonal fruit to a pan with a few tablesppoons of sugar and a little liquid. Gently simmer the fruit until it has broken down a little.
While this is simmering make up the pastry. In a bowl rub in 90g of butter into 150g of plain flour and 2 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt (I replaced 40g of plain with buckwheat). Add approx 3 or 4 tbsp of water to bring the mixture together. Place the dough in the fridge for an hour.
Roll out and place the pastry on a tray. Add the fruit on the pastry leaving a gap of 3-4 cm around the edges. Fold the pastry over the fruit leaving the centre open. Egg/milk wash the pastry and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place in a preheated oven (180C) and cook for 30-35 minutes.
Elderflower champagne (old recipe from one of my allotment pals)
Add 500g of sugar to 2 pints of boiling water in pan and stir until dissolved. Add 5 pints of cooled boiled water, 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 7 or 8 large elderflower heads to the pan. Place a lid on the pan and let the mix steep for up to 48 hours. Strain the liquid through a muslin into plastic bottles with screw lids.
Elderflowers contain natural yeast and reacts with the sugar. Release the pressure of the bottles morning and night for 1 week before placing them in the fridge. Release the pressure every few days for another week then enjoy! It is important to ‘burp’ the bottles so the pressure does not build too high and cause the bottle to explode. ( I am very cautious and place the bottles in a plastic bag within the fridge just in case!)
If you would like to learn some more seasonal recipes with fruit i can provide private and group lessons to show you how to make jams, curds and syrups for a variety of fruit and how to create individual flavour combinations.