Food and Drink


In season: Raspberries

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Summer means lots of things to lots of people – holidays, beach, cricket, heat. To me it’s raspberries.

You see I have a special nostalgic connection with what I consider to be the best of all the fruits. I spent my first 15 years in Scotland, in an area renowned for raspberry growing. Our summers were spent searching in the woods for the secret spots we knew where escaped raspberry plants grew. We learned to pick them only when they were so ripe they fell into your fingers, so sweet that they needed no added sugar.

So when we moved on to our 10 acres my rural upbringing required that instead of merely admiring the extended space we now had around us, I had an obligation to put agricultural land to use, to make my big footprint worth its size. Raspberries were first on the list.

The peak season in and around Melbourne starts in December, when the first of the ‘summer’ crop begins, and lasts until February – roughly. In our case this year there was a very windy 40° day the week before Christmas and our season was over. We’re still experimenting with how tough we can make our plants, and how permaculture informs our horticulture. Anyway, they are still in the shops to enjoy. And there is the follow up season when the ‘autumn’ berries fruit in March/April.

When shopping for raspberries look for those that are firm and bright red, with no oozing juice. Keep them cool on the way home and store them in the fridge, in a container that has some way of allowing them to ‘breath’. Like most foods, their flavour is impeded when chilled so leave them out for 15-30 minutes beforehand, depending on the temperature on the day.

Nutritionally raspberries are one of nature’s health pills being very high in fibre, rich in vitamins C, the B group and E, folate, and manganese. They also contain a variety of goodies which may help combat carcinogens, diabetes, bacterial inflammation, fibrocystic disease, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure. They are low GI.

So, for a recipe to use the health benefits of our raspberries, added to those of oatmeal, and for my nostalgia’s sake let’s take the traditional Scottish dessert Cranachan and add some raspberries to make something really good!

Raspberry Cranachan
½ cup rolled oats (please not instant or ‘1 minute’ – that’s no’ how you make cranachan)
600 ml cream
1 tablespoon Drambuie (*traditional alternative below)
1-2 punnets Raspberries

Toss the oatmeal with a little vegetable oil and toast in the oven until crisp. Cool
Whip the cream
Mix in the toasted oatmeal and Drambuie, then gently fold in the raspberries
Serve in a tall glass

*An alternative to Drambuie would be to combine a cup of oatmeal with a cup of Scotch whisky and soak for 48 hours. Drain off the whisky, squeezing the last drops from the oatmeal, and use this liquid instead.

Photo by Leila Koren.

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