Great berries are a joy. You can get some varieties all year around but they taste so much better (and they’re cheaper) in the summer months. When I’m choosing strawberries, I go for the smaller and more fragrant varieties because the ones as big as apples can be flavourless. With raspberries, I choose darker rather than lighter berries because I think they are sweeter with more flavour. Turn the punnets over when you’re buying them to check for spoilage. If there’s juice, they’ll go mouldy faster. Try to handle raspberries as little as possible before use because they’re so delicate. Keep berries in the punnet in a part of the fridge that’s not icy cold then bring them out well before serving because the aroma and flavour come alive at room temperature.
Berries have an affinity with balsamic and basil – see how it works with my pavlova roll. I also make a quick jelly with equal amounts of berries, apple juice and raw sugar, which I bring to simmer, then strain and add gelatine. See my strawberry trifle recipe for more ways with jelly.
There’s no shame in frozen berries! I always have them handy for smoothies, cakes, muffins and jelly. They also make a great no-churn icecream: blitz 500 grams of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries in a food processor, add a cup of vanilla yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon.