Nutritionally, redcurrants are high in Vitamin C. They also contain fibre, Vitamin B, iron, potassium and phosphorus, and are good for the immune system. The antiseptic properties of redcurrant jelly make it an effective treatment for minor burns – after cooling the affected area with cold water.
Choose red currants which have an even, rich colour and plump form. Remove the fruit from the plant by snapping the stalk at the top of the stem, rather than picking individual berries.
Latest research has discovered that the blackcurrant outshines the rest when it comes to health boosting benefits. They have a very high content in antioxidants and vitamins. In particular, they’re very rich in Vitamin C (and for this reason they were farmed on a massive scale in the UK during World War II). Blackcurrants also contain several rare nutrients, like GLA ( Gamma Linoleic Acid, a very rare Omega-6 essential fatty acid) and MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors), and are therefore be used in therapies against depression.
We grow two gooseberry varieties at Hawkswick – one with the traditional thorns, and one without. Traditional green gooseberries come from the heavy cropping, sweet tasting Invicta. In addition we have the dark red dessert flavoured Pax.
Both varieties are difficult to find in the shops and are wonderful in pies, especially good when made into a compote or, better still, a fool.
Gooseberries are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also a good source of Vitamin A, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre and Vitamin C.
Gooseberries have a tough skin and are easy to pick by lifting up tip of a branch with one hand and picking off the hanging ripe fruits with the other hand.
Blackberries are a good source of antioxidants, which have been shown to help prevent cancer and reduce the signs of aging. Blackberries are also low-fat, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, high in fibre, high in vitamin C and a good source of folate.
There are two types of blackberry to know about: thorny and thornless! We do both at Hawkswick. Obviously, the thornless are easier to pick, but some people claim the thorny varieties are sweeter. With the thorny plants, you want to reach into the plant in the gaps, so you don’t need to touch anything but the berry you’re after, avoiding the thorns.
A ripe blackberry is deep black with a plump, full feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug. If the berry is red or purple, it’s not ripe yet. Reach in between the stems to grab for hidden berries ready for harvest. Bend down and look up into the plant and you’ll find loads of berries that other people missed!
When picking blackberries, remember the dark purple juices will not only stain your hands but also your clothes. In olden days blackberry juice was used as a dye!
Our varieties, which will start to ripen by the end of June, are:
There has been a major and successful breeding programme over the last 15 years resulting in a huge increase in the size and taste of our raspberries. In particular we hope you will enjoy the major expansion of Cascade Delight now grown. The berries are very large – we hope you enjoy them!
Raspberries are a very healthy food; they are high Vitamin C and naturally have no fat, cholesterol or sodium. They are also a good source of iron and folate (which is used especially in treatment of low red blood cells or anaemia). They contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic (cancer-preventing) compound. Raspberries have been shown to lower high blood cholesterol levels and slow the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream of diabetics. Raspberries are also high in fibre, potassium, vitamin A and calcium.
The three varieties we are growing at Hawkswick this season are:
This season we are growing four different varieties of strawberry which enables us to provide strawberries throughout the season, right through until the middle of August – weather permitting, of course! The plants are grown on raised beds for easy picking.
Strawberries are fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and are a good source of fibre, potassium, vitamin C and folic acid. Strawberries top the list of fruits high in antioxidants, which are important for disease prevention.
Strawberries should be picked with the stem attached. This helps the fruit to stay fresh longer.