Autumn raspberries are easy to grow and so prolific. I’m growing a variety called Polka – much earlier, and larger fruiting, than Autumn Bliss. Now is the perfect time to plant raspberries. They are sold bare-rooted, mail order, or from nurseries and garden centres. They are grown in nursery fields and lifted for sale at this time of the year. In garden centres, you’ll find them bundled together and plunged into 10″ pots with some compost to keep the roots moist. Tip up the plants and separate them out. Roots are fibrous and need to be planted shallowly in well-drained soil. I plant mine no deeper than 2″ and incorporate lots of well rotted home-made compost to improve drainage. It’s possible to buy soil improvers in bags from garden centres. There’s also composted maize fertilisers which I recommend as they are easy to use and weed free. Plant Grow is the one I use most often at Bramble Garden. Choose a sunny, or semi-shaded site and plant the canes 2ft apart, with rows 6ft apart. If space is limited, it’s no problem to grow them in pots on the patio. There’s dwarf varieties bred specially for containers and small raised beds. New variety Yummy grows to 45cm and fruits on the first year’s wood. There’s also a new variety called Ruby Falls which is very compact and prolific.
Here’s a favourite recipe, quick to make and cooks in just a few minutes in the microwave. It’s great not to have to turn on the oven, saving electricity or gas. It’s ready in a flash.
3oz SR flour
3oz caster sugar
3oz butter (or vegetable margarine for a vegan recipe)
1 egg (or 2 tbsp oat milk for vegans)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (or milk substitute)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries
You can use small mugs, cups – or a deep glass Pyrex soufflé dish as long as they are microwaveable.
Throw all ingredients apart from raspberries in a food processor and whizz, or use a hand whisk to incorporate.
Place some raspberries in the base of the containers and top with the sponge mixture. Reserve some raspberries for the top.
Cook for 3 minutes. Open the door promptly and let steam escape. The sponge carries on cooking for another 2 minutes. They will be cooked when the sponge shrinks slightly from the sides of the dish. Use a skewer to check the mixture has cooked. If the skewer is clean, they are ready. If the skewer comes out with some liquid mixture, pop the dishes back in the microwave for another minute.
Serve hot with custard or double cream. Or allow to cool, sprinkle with reserved raspberries and icing sugar.
Makes a wonderful recipe for picnics and parties. Easily transported. Can be dressed up for a party with chocolate leaves.
This recipe can be used for any fruit. I use blueberries, pear, apple, blackberries, mandarins, whatever you can get your hands on. If you have no fruit, the sponge on its own is wonderful, or you can add a spoon of berry jam at the base instead as a change. To change it again slightly, omit the cocoa powder and you have a plain vanilla sponge. Add golden syrup to the base, if you like. Quick, easy and affordable. Just what’s needed to get us through this difficult time and with winter on the horizon.
Thanks for reading, and let me know if you make the recipe and how it turns out.
I’m talking on BBC Radio Leicester every other Wednesday at 1.10 am just after the news. Have a listen in on BBC Sounds, or DAB.
I’m also on twitter @kgimson and karengimson1 on instagram
More reading! I also write for Garden News Magazine. Here’s my most recent column.
Some listening as well….. Garden Chat At 13.12 on the timeline on BBC radio Leicester with Rupal Rajani. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08v54lm
Raspberry canes Six Acre Nurseries : https://www.sixacrenurseries.co.uk/
Plant Grow fertiliser: https://www.plantgrow.co.uk/shop
Greenfingers charity : https://www.greenfingerscharity.org.uk/
Rainbows hospice for children: https://www.rainbows.co.uk/
Open gardens NGS: https://ngs.org.uk/