The Smallholder


Blackcurrants


Blackbcurrents

Blackcurrants are rich in vitamin C and have more than three times the Vitamin C of oranges they also contain antioxidants like anthocyanins. American research shows Blackcurrants help slow down the effects of Alzheimer's . Blackcurrants grow best in well drained soil and fed with rotted manure or leaf mould. Space bushes 5-6 feet / 1.5 metres apart.

Cooking

Ideal for fruit pies, summer puddings and jam making.

Homemade Blackcurrant Jam Recipe.

Ingredients

4 lb. blackcurrants,

3 pints water,

6 lb. sugar.

Method

Put the cleaned fruit in the pan with the water. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft.(approx 30 mins) Stir in the sugar and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Remove from the heat, skim, pot, and label. This should make approx 10lbs of jam.

Propagation

Blackcurrants can be easily propagated from cuttings 8-12 inch / 20-30 cm long and inserted up to 6 inch / 15 cm in a trench containing a layer of sand in the base.

Pests

Big bug mite, greenfly, spider mite, leaf spot, American mildew, grey mould.

Gooseberry

Gooseberry

Gooseberries are easily grown and will thrive in most soil types. They are mainly grown in bush form. Planting 4 feet / 1.2 metres apart. A light dressing of potash will stimulate fruit growth. Summer pruning helps keep the bush open and allows air to circulate reducing the risk of mildew. Gooseberries are a good source of fibre and vitamins A and C.

Cooking.

Suitable for jam, jelly, pie filling, crumble, wine making or stewing.

Gooseberry Fool Recipe

Ingredients

1 lb (450g) Gooseberries,

2 tablespoons Water,

6-8 oz (175g-225g) Castor Sugar (to taste),

1/2 pint (275ml) Double Cream.

Method

Top and tail the gooseberries and put them in a small thick saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and some of the sugar. Cover with lid and place it over a low heat and let it stew very gently for 30 minutes until the gooseberries are soft. Beat them to a pulp with a wooden spoon, sweeten them thoroughly and sieve them. Whisk the cream until firm , fold in the fruit pulp and chill before serving.

Propagation

Gooseberries can be easily propagated from cuttings 8-12 inch / 20-30 cm long and inserted up to 6 inch / 15 cm in a trench containing a layer of sand in the base.

Pests

Gooseberry Sawfly - a serious pest which can cause complete defoliation of the bush. Spray once or twice in the season to get rid of the caterpillars. American Mildew - a powdery mildew which later causes brown marks over the fruit. Spray before flowers open and repeat fortnightly. Remove infected branches in September. Others are greenfly, magpie moth, and birds.

Raspberry

Raspberries

Raspberries like plenty of well rotted manure dug into the soil as they are deep rooting. Add a dressing of high potash fertilizer each year as well as further manure. Rasberries are high in polyphenol antioxidant which promotes cardiovascular health and also rich in vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Cooking

Ideal for fruit pies, summer puddings and jam making. Leaves of the raspberry cane are used fresh or dried in herbal and medicinal teas.

Raspberry Coulis or Sauce Ingredients

4oz/110g raspberries,

2 tbsp icing sugar.

Method

Place the raspberries and icing sugar into a mini-food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the coulis over the dessert and serve.

Propagation

Raspberries can be easily propagated from cuttings 8-12 inch / 20-30 cm long and inserted up to 6 inch / 15 cm in a trench containing a layer of sand in the base.

Pests

Big bug mite, greenfly, spider mite, leaf spot, American mildew, grey mould.

Redcurrant

Redcurrants

Redcurrants grow best in well drained soil and fed with rotted manure or leaf mould. Space bushes 5 feet / 1.5 metres apart. Redcurrants are rich in vitamin C, and a useful source of soluble fibre and contains modest amount of iron, potassium and copper.

Cooking

Ideal for fruit pies, summer puddings and jam making.

Redcurrant Jelly

Ingredients

2 lb (900 g) redcurrants,

2 lb (900 g) sugar.

Method

Just place the washed fruit in a pan, bring slowly to the boil then simmer and stir, pressing the redcurrants to break down the fruit and release the juices. When the fruit is cooked (about 30 minutes), add the sugar, stir until absolutely dissolved, then bring the mixture up to a rapid boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Then tip the whole lot into the sieve and let it drip through. or press to extract as much as possible. Then pour the jelly into the jars, which have been washed, dried and heated in a moderate oven for 5 minutes, cover with waxed discs and seal while still hot.

Propagation

Redcurrants can be easily propagated from cuttings 8-12 inch / 20-30 cm long and inserted up to 6 inch / 15 cm in a trench containing a layer of sand in the base.

Pests

Big bug mite, greenfly, spider mite, leaf spot, American mildew, grey mould.



Useful Information

Take cuttings from friends or use the Iternet for a good stockist or a good garden centre.