Making the most of the raspberry crop

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.

Making raspberry vinegarNext to make 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.

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.  

No-Churn Ice cream raspberry ripple

Raspberry Ripple Ice-Cream

A simple to make fresh tasting ice-cream


• 200 g Fresh Raspberries
• 600 ml Double Cream
• 397 g Tin Sweetened, Condensed Milk
• 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. Gently heat the raspberries with a splash of water in a small saucepan until they burst and the juice starts to run. Don’t boil or cook the raspberries.
  2. Push the raspberries through a sieve, which will give you a ruby coloured puree.
  3. Whip the cream until it’s floppy and then add the condensed milk and vanilla extract, continuing to whip until it’s incorporated.
  4. Pour in the raspberry puree and swirl through with a knife to give a ripple effect.
  5. Scrape into a plastic container, cover and freeze overnight until hard.

Move the ice-cream from the freezer to the fridge 30 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop out.

Raspberry Loaf Cake

raspberry cake

In summer and early autumn, the fruit and vegetables from the garden are picked and the house fills with the sweet smell of jam-making and the all-pervading vinegary aroma of chutney making. Fruit compotes, crumbles and pies are frozen, cordials and liqueurs bottled and tomatoes roasted and pureed so that by the start of winter there are jars and bottles stacked on the pantry shelves and the freezer is filled to capacity.

In theory, we should work our way methodically through this bounty so that we’re ready to start again the next summer. In practice, we start off with good intentions but there’s often a favourite jam that’s quickly finished while others languish on the shelf and unlabelled frozen lumps fall to the bottom of the freezer to remain hidden for months. In late February, with the hope that spring is just around the corner, I start to empty the freezer in earnest because I want to have a good break between eating last year’s crop and the start of the new crop.

We’ve barely touched the frozen raspberries so we’ve had a little run on them recently. Somehow, eating them with the sun shining through the window (even if it is blowing an icy wind outside) seems more appropriate than eating them on dark December days. We’ve eaten raspberries with yoghurt for breakfast and a wobbly jelly made from Rose Syrup (and a little dash of Rose Gin) with raspberries suspended in the scented jelly. For Sunday tea, a deliciously moist Raspberry Cake made up for the rather disappointing sourdough crumpets (I was sure the recipe book was wrong and wish I’d trusted my judgement).

This Raspberry Cake recipe works just as well with frozen or fresh raspberries and is a good way to use up the berries that get a bit broken up in the freezer. It’s also useful if you still have Seville oranges kicking around when you’ve finished making marmalade.


185g butter
185g caster sugar
Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange (or 2 Seville oranges)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
185g Self Raising flour
40g ground almonds
185g fresh or frozen raspberries
Icing Sugar

Line a loaf tin with a baking case or parchment (mine is about 22 x 11 cm) and preheat the oven to 180C.

Gently heat the butter and sugar in a large saucepan until the butter has melted.

Stir in the grated zest of the lemon and orange with 60ml juice and then the eggs and vanilla extract.

Add the flour and ground almonds to the saucepan and beat until you have a smooth, runny batter. Reserve one third of the raspberries and lightly fold the remainder into the batter.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin, drop the reserved raspberries evenly over the top and bake for about an hour until browned (a skewer poked into the cake should come out clean).

Leave to cool in the tin.

Mix the remaining juice with enough icing sugar to make icing. I like a fairly runny icing that I dribble over the cake but you may prefer a thicker icing to spread. Or leave it out altogether if you prefer. When the cake is cold, top with the icing and leave to set.

Next on the list to be used are two jars of 2009 Plum & Mulled Wine Jam. It seemed such a good idea when I made it.

Do you preserve and use it in an organised fashion or do you have mysterious packages in the freezer and ancient jars of jam?

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Desire, Fulfilment and Surfeit (of raspberries)

my commute

Yesterday I helped Beth on the Slamseys Drinks stand at an agricultural show.

It took an hour and a half to drive there and made us very grateful that our normal commute to work consists of

orchardstrolling through the orchard

ducks preeningpast the ducks as they preen themselves at the side of the pond

duck shakingand have a little shake

pig sleepingleaning over the fence to say hello to the two pigs, who lead a busy life

DesmondDesmond, the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig

Nelsonand his brother Nelson

(named after Peace-keepers this year as opposed to famous Dictators in previous years)

We know which is which, because Desmond has two black spots, one on each ear

raspberriesand when we arrive at work, after a minute’s commute,

we have the taxing job of picking raspberries in the sunshine.

A post that I shall look back on in November, when we’re out picking sloes with freezing fingers and scratched, cut hands.