The chink of ice cubes is our sound of the summer. August is a month for fruity drinks – a jug of Pimm’s, perhaps, with lashings of cucumber, strawberry and citrus. Or how about homemade lemonade, pimped up with crushed raspberries and mint? Try infusing our fresh herbs in a sugar syrup, straining then using this as cordial – lovely with fizzy water or as a base in cocktails. Here at Ripe, we just love getting creative with fresh flavours.
Greengages : This fruit is grown in the UK but can be traced back to wild plum trees in Iran. A ripe greengage is a rare treat – juicy and zinging with flavour. They are named after Sir Thomas Gage of Hengrave Hall in Suffolk. In the 18th Century he imported the first trees from France, where the fruit is called ‘Reine Claude’.
So refreshing! Add chunks of cucumber to
your water bottle to help with hydration
during the working day. Cucumber is also
a key ingredient in Pimm’s. For a salad, use
a vegetable peeler to create ribbons of
cucumber – these look dazzling on the plate.
This exotic fruit is also known as pitaya.
The flesh can be white, yellow or red and
is speckled with tiny edible seeds. We love
both the flavour and the striking appearance
of the dragon fruit. The skin really does look
like a dragon’s scales.
Crunchy celery is a wonder for the health –
packed with fibre, full of water and with next to
no calories. It is also helpful for reducing blood
pressure and levels of cholesterol. Don’t forget
the leaves, too. These are strong in flavour, and
can be used as a herb to flavour savoury dishes.
We can’t get enough of strawberries this year.
New modern varieties mean the flavour is better
than ever. For homemade desserts, strawberries
go brilliantly with meringue – such as in the classic
Eton Mess or decadent Pavlova. Or use the fruit to
decorate a homemade trifle.
Mint is known as a cooling herb at its best in the
summer. Infuse sprigs in hot water for a simple
mint tea. For a cheffy trick in the kitchen, pick the
leaves from the stalk, stack on top of each other,
roll into a tight bundle then slice into thin ribbons –
this technique is known as the ‘chiffonade’.
Every August, we source our citrus from Southern
Europe, Morocco and even South America. Peru, for
example, is a key producer of easy peeling satsumas at
this time of year. Slices of colourful citrus are an easy
way to jazz up summer drinks. Anyone for Sangria?