In Scotland, all the soft fruit always come at once in the second week of July: its time to get in the harvest from the hills and the garden - eat as much and preserve the for the long winter to come.
Strawberries and blackcurrants from the garden… we grow the strawberries in recycled half-whisky barrels, placed on gravel. This makes them easy to pick, and also keep them above and away from the bugs and slugs.
The blackcurrants are just grown semi-wild in the wildlife-friendly garden zones, because they appear to be immune from predation. We planted them 22 years ago, and they flourish with benign neglect.
Best as you like them, here with ripped fresh garden mint leaves, a little maple syrup or whisky, double cream and salted caramel ice cream.. and a sprinkle of pistachios.
The spare crop usually gets jammed or jellied with 50/50 sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice, but then there are the blaeberries to gather from our favourite (and secret) spot in the Campsie Fells near the Carron Valley.
We use a Swedish berry comb (you can buy them on the Internet) for maximum efficiency and to save the back: 2.4 kg of pick takes less than 30 minutes to gather, and is then immediately sorted by hand when we get home - taking about an hour per kilo: this crop includes 400 grams of small leaves and twigs (top) , and 2 kg of fruit ; in six, 330 gram punnets of ripe blaeberries (below) - mainly for the freezer. They can be used for jams, jellies, puddings, pancakes and sprinked frozen on breakfast cereals: they thaw out almost instantly.
Next lets look at the cherries…
And gone tomorrow.. I honestly do not begrudge the birds their share. They are all high up in the tree: very hard to pick safely.
This is a European Jay..
And this a blue tit.
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