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Issue 9 - Summerfruitfantastic

Scotland Magazine Issue 9
July 2003

 

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Summerfruitfantastic

SUELAWRENCEEXPLAINSHOWSHEGAINEDHARD-EARNEDEXPERIENCE“GOINGTOTHEBERRIES”,ANDPROVIDESSOMESTUNNINGBERRY-INSPIREDRECIPES

Mythoughtsontastingthefirstraspberryoftheseasonarenotofmelbasauce,clottedcreamorjam,butofluggies,dreelsandfingernailsdyedred.ForIwasoneofthathappybandofberry-pickerswhowerepaidapaltrysumofmoneytopickberriesalldaylonginsun,rainorwind,forthemonthofJuly.InAngusandPerthshire,summerholidaysandberrieswereinextricablylinked.

Hordesofschoolchildrenwouldwalk,cycleorcatchabusto“gototheberries”.Itwasawayoflife,andtheirritatingscratchesandredstainedt-shirtswerepartandparcel.

Onarrivalatthefruitfarm,wewouldcollectourbuckets(calledluggies)andtiethemroundourwaists.

Thenwewouldbedispatchedtothefields–mainlyraspberryfields,butifyouwereunlucky,itwasoffonthebackofatractoroverbumpyterraintotheblackcurrantbushes.

Apartfromtheirinkyblackstains,theywereimpossibletopickwithoutsquashingintojambetweeneagerfists.

Gooseberrieswerealsounpopularastheywerepricklyandtastedsour.No,bestofallwereraspberries,asyourbackdidn’tacheasitdidwithstrawberries.

Youwereshelteredfromtheworstoftheweatherbythehighleafycanes.Andbecauseofthelengthoftherows(dreels)youcouldhavemeaninglessconversationswithyourfellowpickersiftheappealofdevouringmoreforbiddenfruitbegantopall.

Thetroublewithraspberrieswasthattheytastedsogood,mostoftheonesIpickednevermadeitintomyluggie.Mysmile–inthosehalcyonpre-flossingdays–musthavebeenratherunsightly,withlittleseedsstickingbetweeneverytooth.Raspberrypipsare,perhapssurprisingly,ofgreathistoricsignificanceastheywerefoundinglacialdepositsintheScottishLowlands–proofthatthewildberryhasbeenwithusforquitesometime.

Scotlandhasretaineditsclaimastheworld’sbestraspberry-growerbecauseofthecool,moistclimate.

VarietiestolookoutforareGlenAmpleandGlenRosa(mid-seasonberries)andGlenMagna,adarkred,latecultivar.

Thesedays,raspberrycanesarespine-free,soitinerantpickersneednotworryaboutscratchesandcutsaswedid.Besides,halfofthefruit-pickingisdonebymachine.Thetayberry(acrossbetweenaraspberryandblackberry)wasunderdevelopmentwhileIwaspickinginInvergowrienearDundee,atwhatisnowtheScottishCrop.

ResearchInstitute,theworld’slargestproducerofraspberriesandblackcurrants.Thetayberry’ssister,thetummelberry(developedfromanotherseedlingfromthesamecrop),islessaromaticthanthetayberry,andmorehardy.

Otherhybridsareloganberries,boysenberries,youngberriesandtheolallie,acrossbetweenayoungberryandaloganberry.Attheendofalongberry-pickingday,therewasastreamofwearychildrenstrugglingwiththeirluggiestotheweighingarea.

Somemanagedtopickpounduponpoundofberriesinaday;Iresentedthem.Otherscontrivedtocheatbyconcealingstonesorliquidsinthebottomoftheirluggies;Iratherenviedtheiraudacity.Others–myselfincluded–justsmiledthatseedysmileandresolvedthatnextdaymoreberrieswouldgointotheluggie,notintothemouth.

DUCKWITHWARMBLACKCURRANTVINAIGRETTE
Servewithsautépotatoesandawatercresssalad
6duckbreasts
300g/101/2ozblackcurrants
3tbspblackcurrantorraspberryvinegar
2leveltbsplightmuscovadosugar
3tbspextra-virginoliveoil

Heatafryingpanuntilveryhot.Scoretheskinofeachbreasttwicethenplaceinthehotpan,skin-sidedown,withoutaddedfat.Youmightneedtodothisintwobatches.Seasonthefleshwithsaltandpepper.Cookfor2–3minutesuntilbrown,thenturnoverandcookforafurther1minute.Removetoabakingsheetandplaceinapreheatedoven(220C/425F/Gas7)forabout10minutes(dependingonthickness),thenremoveandallowtorestfor5–10minutes.(Themeatshouldbemedium-rare;itwillbemediumafterresting.)Forthevinaigrette,placethecurrants,vinegarandsugarinapanandheatgentlyuntilthesugardissolves.Increasetheheattomedium,simmerfor2–3minutesuntilthe
skinsburst.Removefromtheheat,stirintheoilandsaltandpeppertotaste.Thicklyslicetheduckandservewiththevinaigrette.

CRANACHAN
125g/41/2ozjumbooats(large,rolled
porridgeoats)
75g/3ozlightmuscovadosugar
3–4tbspmaltwhiskyplusextratoserve
250g/9ozmascarpone
300ml/10flozdoublecream,lightlywhipped
250g/9ozraspberries(whole)andstrawberries
(sliced),heatherhoney(runny),optional

Puttheoatsandsugaronalargesheetoffoilandplaceunderahotgrillfor3–4minutes,stirringevery30secondsorso:theywillburnquicklysowatchcarefully.Removeandcool.Addthewhiskytothemascarponeaccordingtotaste,andbeatwelluntilsmooth.Foldthisintothecreamwiththecooledoatmixture.Oncethoroughlycombined,gentlyfoldintheraspberries,takingcarenottocrushthem.Tipintoaglassbowl,coverandserveatonce–orchillfornomorethananhour.Serveinbowlswithanoptionaldrizzleofwhisky–andheatherhoneyifyoulike.

WARMBERRYCOMPOTEWITHGIN
125g/41/2ozraspberries
125g/41/2ozblack/redcurrants
125g/41/2ozblueberries
100ml/31/2flozgin
50g/11/2ozgoldencastersugar
125g/41/2ozstrawberries

Placethefirstfiveingredientsinasaucepan.Slowlyheatuntilthesugardissolves,thenincreasetheheatandbubblefor1minute.Removefromtheheatandstirinthestrawberries.Servewithvanillaicecream.