Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’

Strawberry Season

Well folks we’re certainly in the thick of the strawberry season now.

It’s a good idea at this time of year to get out there and check the condition of your strawberry plants. Keeping them clean and healthy is the key to good yields.

Strawberries really are one of the easiest and most rewarding plants to have in your garden. You just need to make sure that they are planted in free draining soil that has been enriched with compost and sheep or cow manure (well, that’s just my preference!). It is a common practice to mound your soil, this is to ensure good drainage and it is certainly a good idea. Oh and don’t bother with black plastic, this is an agricultural technique and absolutely not necessary in the home garden.

Pruning your strawberries:

Use a nice clean pair of scissors to snip away dead or yellowing leaves. Cut low to the base of the plant to prevent left over leaf stems rotting and causing fungal problems. I like to use either a sharp pointed pair of scissors or nail scissors so that I can get deep down into the plant and also to avoid cutting healthy leaves. It can be a delicate job but definitely not a hard or time consuming one.

Don’t mind my dirty pot, I had a few other pots standing around it and it kept getting splashed with potting mix when I watered them. It’s beautiful and clean now but, I really should have cleaned it before my photos =) oops!

I do grow my strawberries in the garden by the way but, I have been testing some strawberries in the greensmart pot. They have done exceptionally well. I will have to replace the potting mix every second season to prevent disease and maintain the vigour of the plants.

Now, please don’t tug at the spent leaves as you will disturb the roots and possibly break your crowns. You don’t want that!

I give my strawberries a thorough clean up about twice a year. That said, I look at them often and if I see bits I don’t like they get the snip! I love my strawberries (and my plants) so I give them a bit of love from time to time and boy do they thank me for it. “Checkin’ the strawbs” it’s just one of those regular things I do when I’m wandering around my garden and it only takes a few seconds.

FYI – about 30 plants will be sufficient to feed a family of four. If you can’t afford to buy 30 plants in one hit well, fair enough! Buy what you can when you can. Buying them bare rooted can be quite an economical way to do it. If you look after your plants you will be able to propagate them as their runners develop during summer. When they have taken root snip off the runner and you’ll have a new plant to add to your collection.

One quick thing – when you harvest your strawberries leave a bit of the stem on as I have done in my picture below. These are a couple of my White Frais De Bois strawberries that I just picked now after tucking my chooks into bed. They may be tiny but they taste like sherbet and we love!

Frais De Bois

Check in tomorrow to see what I did with my strawberry harvest! Oh-la-la!

I think it might be a great time for a few strawberry recipes.

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Berry delicious

Just in case you have been wondering what I did with those beautiful berries I picked the other day – I made some cute little berry and custard cups and last night I treated us to a tasty ice cream sundaes.

For the custard cups I just layered stewed fruit (rhubarb and rose), custard and fresh fruit.

Rhubarb, rose and berry custard cups

The sundaes were very quick and easy. I simply layered fresh berries, best quality vanilla bean ice cream and boysenberry sauce.

Vanilla and berry sundaes

Boysenberry sauce:

150g Boysenberries

Juice of 1 mandarine

3-4tbsp of raw sugar

Pour the mandarine juice berries and sugar into a saucepan. Cook until the berries have completely collapsed and the sauce is getting syrupy. Strain the sauce either in a tea strainer or a muslin cloth to keep out any seeds. If using a strainer you will have to squash the seeds against the sides to make sure you have all of the fruit. Allow the sauce to cool. This sauce will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days.

You can use it to do all kinds of posh things like, pop it in the blender with some ice cream or yogurt and fresh berries to make yummy smoothie. Stir it through some custard and use the mix to fill fruit tarts or fold the sauce through whipped cream to spread between the layers of a sponge cake. Or as I will be doing tomorrow, stirring it through icing sugar and using it to decorate my Christmas cookies.

Berry nice!

I just dashed inside to show you all the beautiful berries that I have been outside picking. We have boysenberries, red and white currants, raspberries and Gigi De Boisberries.

They are devilishly moreish.

Wait a minute! That's not a berry!

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