Raspberries

raspberries

Soft, juicy, and grown in cooler climates, this summer berry is a key player in summer desserts, fruity sauces, jellies and jams.

Look for plump dry berries with a good shape and reddish colour. It's best to steer clear of ones with their hulls intact, as they'll be under-ripe and too tart for eating.

Enjoy raspberries as soon after picking as possible. Like strawberries, they don't keep well and shouldn't be washed because they lose shape and become soggy.

Serve them at room temperature, rather than straight from the fridge to best appreciate their flavour.

IN THE KITCHEN

Although enjoyed in a host of summery desserts, there's something to be said for simple serving suggestions - soft berries, dusted with sugar and accompanied with lashings of cream will always be a crowd pleaser.

Make a fresh and vibrant sauce by blending raspberries in the liquidiser, straining them to remove seeds, and sweetening with a little icing sugar. A good way of using up extra fruit.

Ring the changes and use raspberries in flans, ice creams, fruity vinegar, sorbets and jellies. They work particularly well in boozy cocktails. Favourite food pairings include combining them with chocolate, mint, cream, and other soft summer fruit.

Raspberries freeze well - scatter in an even layer on a baking tray, and when frozen, tip into plastic bags and secure well.

Their refreshing flavour helps counter the richness of game. For a flavoursome roast duck, try cooking it with a dash of raspberry vinegar for a pleasantly tangy note.