Celebrating the English strawberry season

        

Turquoise, cloudless skies. Intense, sweltering heat. The lingering smoky aroma of a million barbecues. Simultaneous euphoric screams across the UK as Andy Murray is crowned Wimbledon Champion.

This weekend may have been one big ‘pinch-me’ moment, but it was a staunch reminder of how bloody FANTASTIC British Summer can be. We may not be blessed with a Wimbledon CHAMPION every year (well done, Murray!), but amongst the endless days of gloomy downpours and overcast skies, there are British Summer mainstays that we should celebrate. Canalside picnics, countryside saunters, newborn chicks. Beneath a canopy of searing sunshine, many of the makings of a brilliant Summer can be found right here on our little island.

Canalside picnic, swans and signets

Enjoying the best of British Summer in Rodley this weekend!

The same can most certainly be said about British produce. It’s no secret that Britain is a sanctuary for fine seasonal produce, and there’s nothing that epitomises the British Summer quite so much as the English strawberry. On this most perfect of British Summer weekends, I headed to my local PYO field to stock up on a bounty of red berry plunder. Located in the same field where I’d discovered freshly picked asparagus to-die-for just weeks before, the adjacent field had now become a honeypot for local strawberry-lovers. Dozens of figures huddled over uniform green rows, scouring the foliage for the plumpest and reddest berries. The sweet scent of strawberries flooded our senses, blazing sun rays beat down on us, and the sky was that hue of blue usually only spied on postcards. It was perfect.

PYO strawberries Horsforth

The Horsforth PYO

Although I don’t do if often, I think there’s something very satisfying about picking your own fruit. I loved burrowing on my hands and knees through the sandy soil, gently examining crops of leaves for the best berries, urgently clambering over the rows as I spot a perfect bright red beacon. I loved carefully releasing the berry from its green grip and adding it to a punnet of glistening red treasure. And I loved the challenge of operating saint-like restraint as I inhaled the intense, sweet scent of the growing pile of strawberries, a pile begging to be sampled immediately.

Horsforth strawberry picking

Strawberry picking in action!

Within 10 minutes we’d filled an entire punnet, and paid just £1.85. £1.85! The temptation to eat was unbearable, but I resisted until we got home before washing and tasting my prize. Wow. I haven’t picked my own strawberries in years, and had forgotten just how different they taste when they’re that fresh. The flavour isn’t even comparable with the strawberries that convene on supermarket shelves – these strawberries were succulent, juicy and super sweet, with the sort of tang that makes your eyes involuntarily squint. In a very good way.

I may have coincided strawberry picking with Wimbledon Men’s Final Day, but I steered clear of the traditional Pimms to indulge in a little experimentation, starting with my first dabble with making that most revitalizing of liquid refreshments – iced tea.

RECIPE: Super fruit and Strawberry Iced Tea
Overheated after a pre-final picnic by the canal in Rodley, we were craving something ice cold, thirst-quenching and uber refreshing. I’d been sent some teabags by those lovely tea-folks at teapigs, along with a recipe for iced tea, and the super fruit varietal was calling to me. Although I’d never actually made iced tea before, I’m definitely a convert – easy AND delicious!

Per person, you’ll need:
One teapigs super fruit teabag per person
LOTS of ice
Boiling water
Fresh strawberries

To make:

1. Pop a teapigs super fruit teabag into a glass and add boiling water, just so it covers the top of the teabag
2. Brew for three minutes
3. Remove the teabag and fill a glass with ice
4. Top with ice cold water and sliced strawberries
5. Garnish with a whole strawberry, and serve!

teapigs iced tea

teapigs iced tea, stawberries and the Wimbledon final. How very British!

It was JUST what I needed. The strawberries perfectly complemented the subtle sweetness of the tea, with the ice . I also made a teapigs peppermint iced tea, following exactly the same process above, minus the strawberries. A great calming influence to cope with the stress of watching Murray inch his way to Wimbledon victory!

Thanks to teapigs for sending me a selection of their teas to experiment with, including this super fruits tea. teapigs are also kindly offering readers of Where’s Lisa 15% off* at http://www.teapigs.co.uk using the code BLOGGERS12.

 (*enter code at checkout. discount does not apply to 80g matcha tins or gifts and cheeky deals as these are already discounted)

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