What’s more delicious than a ripe strawberry picked straight from the plant on a hot summer’s day?
British strawberries are perfect in June, their alluring sweet scent and their juicy succulence. While British strawberries are in the shops right now, growing your own strawberries is easy. There’s nothing more rewarding than plucking your own strawberries straight from the plant and serving in a bowl with a little sprinkled sugar and thick whipped cream, you’ll never eat a sweeter strawberry!
Strawberries are simple to grow, even if you have little space they thrive in warm spots in pots, their sprawling shoots can be trained into adjacent pots to make yet more strawberry plants for next year. You can extend the season of your own strawberries by getting early, mid and late season varieties.
While Broad Beans aren’t to everyone’s taste, to me it’s how they are cooked that makes the difference.
Broad Beans again can be grown at home; they cope wonderfully in a grow-bag or in pots without much attention other than a good watering after an extremely hot day. At home you have the choice of harvesting early for the young and tender pods that can be briefly steamed, or waiting until the pods are bigger and enjoy the beans in stews, soups, or as I prefer them by removing the bean casings and boiling like potatoes, then mashing with a little pesto and serving thickly spread on top of grilled prosciutto on bruschetta.
Peas are another great garden food; again you don’t need loads of space for a few pots of peas. Even though they are available in the shops right now and taste delicious, growing them yourself can make them taste better still. Just add a few bamboo canes for the peas to climb up and water them regularly and you can’t go wrong. There are many varieties of peas available from the mange-tout that you eat in the pods, to large pod varieties. Pod peas are wonderfully sweet, snapped straight off the plant de-podding and eating as soon as possible. Peas are a great accompaniment to lots of meals, gently steaming is my preferred method of cooking.
Gooseberries bushes are a hardy and particularly suited to the British climate, they can be trimmed into small bushes in pots or do well if left to their own devices in beds and borders. Gooseberries do very well in large pots but prefer good soil (grow-bag soil works wonderfully).
Gooseberries aren’t as fashionable as they were in the nineteenth century when gooseberry wine, tarts, fools, pies and puddings were all common place. The gooseberry was a much celebrated fruit; there were even gooseberry clubs, all fighting to grow the biggest and most flavoursome fruit. Nowadays the gooseberry has become a much forgotten wonder of the past, which is a pity, their high yielding fruit produced from mid June through to the end of July make for delicious eating.
As well as the more traditional uses for gooseberries like pies, tarts and fools they can be used in more adventurous ways, one of our forum members and restaurant chef (who goes by the name of Sexychef on our forum) recommends to cook them down with some sugar and serve them with a pork chops/roast instead of apple puree/sauce, What could be more delicious?!