Saturday 27 July 2013

Fun with Summer Berries - Inspired by Tesco

Summer is fast becoming one of my favourite food seasons due to the variety of fresh berries which can be found during the summer months. After having to make do with alternative versions from Spain, Chile, and elsewhere during the winter months, there there is nothing quite so satisfying as biting into a delicious sweet British strawberry once they are ready for picking. 

Indeed, it seems that strawberries, so synonymous with summer, and summer events are in plentiful supply at the moment. However, I never knew that strawberries could vary so significantly from one another. I was invited along to Tesco, to sample some different kinds of strawberries. There are many different varieties such as Amesti, Ava Rosa, Driscoll's Jubilee, and Sweet Eve, hailing from all over the UK. We tried the finest, regular, and economy ranges which include some of the varieties mentioned. Each Strawberry is scrutinised and sorted by appearance, size and shape into the various ranges, to provide a fantastic choice for the consumer. This means that the same grower could be producing strawberries for the Finest, Every Day, and Smart Price ranges. 

My favourite strawberries hailed from Scotland. I was surprised how different all of the strawberries tasted. British strawberries are at their best from June to September. They are in store within 48-72 hours of being picked, so that they remain fresh for use. Did you know that strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges? Ten strawberries provide the recommended daily amount - so they are a great source of vitamins for all the family.

Tesco are also introducing some fantastic new berry ranges including Aronia Berries - similar to cranberries, Kiwi Berries - essentially Kiwi like grapes, and Mac Black raspberries - bigger and sweeter than red raspberries, so there is even more choice of fantastic berries for us to choose from. Go and take a look in the supermarket and see what you can find!

There are lots of fantastic things that you can do with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries - and lots of them are so easy, that even a complete novice could make them look like a culinary dream.

Tesco have some fantastic recipes for you to try.

You could also stick to some simple ideas
  • Sprinkle berries with sugar, or smother in cream or yoghurt
  • Dip in chocolate, vanilla sauce, custard, or even balsamic vinegar!
  • Make a smoothie - simply add water, juice, or milk with fruit to blend
  • Mix with chopped mint and sugar
  • Serve strawberries, blueberries and raspberries on their own in a bowl

Berries are delicious with meringue nests filled with cream - we let the kids loose, and here's what they came up with:

You could also use them to top a sweet pie or flan for a more grown-up dessert. You can buy a pre-made pie or flan base, fill with a vanilla topping and away you go. I made a topping by mixing lemon curd, vanilla pods and cream and whisking together.

What do you like to do with summer berries? I would love to hear!

Disclosure: Event and Ingredients provided by Tesco 

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