August weather is always a bit changeable and as soon as the combine rolls into the field, you can be sure that rainclouds will follow. As ever, this year there has been much dashing about while the sun shines interspersed with hopeful weather forecast consultation while the rain pours down outside.
On the plus side, it’s been possible to pick raspberries in the sunshine and retreat inside to deal with them when it rains. The autumn fruiting raspberries are in full production and no doubt their good size is partly due to the rain. When we start to tire of eating raspberries for breakfast, lunch and supper I have to cast around for ways of prolonging the season because a couple of weeks after the crop has finished, they suddenly become desirable again.
First this year was a batch of raspberry ripple ice-cream. I’ve made gallons of ice-cream since I discovered how easy it is to make it with a carton of cream and a tin of sweetened condensed milk. It’s another of those things that I wish I’d known about years ago.
If you’ve never tried the condensed milk recipe, try a batch of Raspberry Ripple ice-cream.
Simmer 200g fresh raspberries with a splash of water in a small saucepan until they burst and the juice starts to run. Then push them through a sieve, which will give you a ruby coloured puree. Leave it to cool. Or you can just make the puree without cooking first. Whip 600ml double cream until it’s floppy, tip in a 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk and continue to beat until it’s incorporated. Add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you like vanilla. Pour in the raspberry puree and swirl through with a knife to give a ripple effect. Then scrape into a plastic container, cover and freeze.
Next on the list was a new batch of Raspberry Vinegar as I’m down to the dregs of my last bottle from 2018. Some modern recipes for Raspberry Vinegar don’t add sugar and some older ones use an awful lot. My recipe is halfway between the two, so you may want to adjust it either way. I suppose it depends how you plan to use it.
- Use Raspberry Vinegar to deglaze a roasting pan, which adds a bit of flavour to the gravy.
- Splosh a little into a stew.
- Use one part Raspberry Vinegar: three parts Olive Oil and seasoning for a simple salad dressing.
- Trickle it sparingly over sliced tomatoes. Or strawberries.
- Mix with rapeseed oil and grain mustard to spread over chicken thighs before roasting or barbecuing.
- Dilute Raspberry Vinegar with soda water to make a long drink.
- Drizzle it over ice-cream or pancakes. I’ve never tried this but I know people who like it.
- Dilute Raspberry Vinegar with a little hot water to soothe a sore throat; it makes your eyes water and rasps the back of your throat so much that you forget how sore it is!
How to make Classic Raspberry Vinegar
A vibrant fruity vinegar using fresh raspberries.
- 350 g Fresh raspberries
- 350 g Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
- 150 g Granulated Sugar
Put the raspberries into a wide necked jar and crush them a little.
Add the vinegar, give it a good stir and leave for three or four days. Shake the
jar every day.
If you want clear vinegar, strain through a jelly bag overnight. For a cloudy version, drain through a sieve but don't push the raspberry flesh through, just press firmly.
Add the sugar to the vinegar and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes. Leave to cool, skimming off any scum that's risen to the top.
Pour into sterilised bottles when the vinegar is cold.
Next on the list are a couple of Raspberry Loaf cakes. One for the printmaking class that’s running this week in The Barley Barn and another for the freezer. Just as soon as the rain stops so that I can pick more raspberries.