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For people who love to cook (and eat) one of the best things you can do is grow your own food. It’s sometimes hard work, but the satisfaction of raising something and eventually getting to eat it is like no other. You won’t get any fresher ingredients than the ones that come straight from your garden or kitchen. And you don’t even need to put a lot of effort into growing many of the fruit and veg that you can plant. Although many people grow vegetables, fruit is one of the best things to cultivate at home. Plucking a raspberry or fig from your own plants is incredibly fun. And when it’s time to harvest everything, you can preserve it, put it in your fruit bowl, or turn it into a fantastic pie or jam. Try some of these awesome fruits to grow yourself, and the ideas for what to do with your haul.
Raspberries and Strawberries
Raspberries are fantastic if you want to grow a fruit with a bit of tartness. You can plant the plants quite close together, as long as you keep them somewhere that drains well in the sun or semi-shade. To improve your chances of a tasty crop, buy cell grown plants like those from http://www.pomonafruits.co.uk/. Late spring and early summer are the perfect times to plant them, and the harvest will make an excellent jam or dessert. Or you could try some strawberry runners if you prefer their sweeter flavour. They’re easy to grow, either planted in your garden, in grow-bags or in hanging baskets. Make a strawberry jam (perfect for a Victoria sponge) or have strawberries and cream with the results of your hard work.
Figs are one of the best fruits to grow, and can do well in the UK as long as you choose the right variety. Plant the trees in a sunny spot in your garden or on your patio for sweet and juicy fruit. Figs are excellent for both sweet and savoury cooking. Make a delicious fig salad, a sticky cinnamon fig dessert, or wrap them in Prosciutto ham to have them with an indulgent blue cheese starter.
Everyone’s seen rhubarb growing in random places, across fields and in hedgerows. This is a testament to how easy it is to grow, and it’s been a childhood favourite for a long time. But adults should enjoy rhubarb too, and not just with custard. Plant your rhubarb out in the sun or partial shade, but make sure the area is well-drained. There are so many desserts to make with rhubarb, from pies and fools to crumbles and even jams and jellies. But don’t forget you can use it in savoury dishes too. Try making a chutney to accompany your pork chops.
There are lots of fruits you might think are more suited to growing in the Mediterranean. But if you get the right varieties and conditions, you can grow much more than you would first think.