Home > Fruit Basics > An Introduction to Berries and Small Fruit

An Introduction to Berries and Small Fruit

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 17 Feb 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Berries Small Fruit Growing Berries All

Berries and small fruit are delicious, nutritious, and easy to grow at home. They take up very little space and are relatively low maintenance. What’s more, some of these berries, such as blackcurrants and blueberries, fall into the superfood category, so there’s no excuse not to have a pot or two of them on your balcony or patio.

Most berries come under the sub-categories of cane fruit or bush fruit. Cane fruit includes:

  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberry
  • Raspberries
  • Tayberries
Bush fruit includes:
  • Blackcurrants
  • Blueberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Redcurrants
  • White currants
Strawberries and grapes fall into neither category. These are classed as small fruits.

About Cane Fruit
The most common cane fruits grown in the UK are blackberries and raspberries.

Blackberries
Blackberries are widespread in the UK and are found growing wild in nearly every uncultivated piece of land. They are prolific growers, and can overtake a plot of land in a very small amount of time. They produce delicious, small black or dark purple berries which are popular for use in jams, pies and eaten on their own. The berries are also popular with birds, however, so it’s vital to get to them quickly once they’re ripe.

Blackberries are loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps prevent premature ageing, heart disease and cancer. The berries are quite perishable, so handle them with care. Once picked, eat them within 24 hours.

Raspberries
Raspberry canes are also prolific growers, but you’re less likely to see them colonising a piece of land, as you are blackberry brambles. Raspberries are less brambly than blackberries and easy to train to a support. They produce small, tightly packed red berries (though you can get golden varieties), which fruit either in the summer or autumn. Many growers have both summer and autumn varieties in their gardens as this produces a longer raspberry season for them.

Raspberries make great jams, seedless jellies, pies and ice creams, and freeze and dry well. They are a fantastic source of vitamin C and manganese, and contain vitamin K and magnesium too. Like blackberries, once picked they should be eaten within 24 hours, and handled with care.

Bush Fruit
The most commonly grown bush fruits include blackcurrants, blueberries and gooseberries.

Blackcurrants
Recent research has shown that blackcurrants have more nutritional benefits than other fruits. They contain high levels of antioxidants and are tipped as the berry to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

They are relatively easy to grow, and take up little space. It’s best to grow them in the ground, however, as they grow long roots, which enjoy a free run. The berries make a fantastic cordial, and can be used in pies, ice cream and summer puddings. Why not top a crisp salad with a few berries? They’ll look great and add some textural interest too.

Blueberries
Blueberries are popular with celebrities as they are bursting with nutrients and flavour, yet are very low in calories. They are also loaded with antioxidants, which destroy harmful free radicals in the body. Indeed, blueberries are linked with the prevention of a multitude of ailments and diseases, including upset stomachs, macular degeneration and heart disease.

They are easy to grow and look fantastic in a pot on the balcony or patio.They are delicious in pies, cobbler and are fantastic in muffins or eaten on their own.

Gooseberries
Gooseberries are juicy, tart and full of flavour. They are roughly the same size as grapes, though have tiny prickles on them, and sometimes feature brown stripes. Traditionally associated with old boys on the allotment, the gooseberry has seen a drop in popularity as a fruit. Now, however, it is undergoing something of a revival.

There are two types of gooseberry, the green type, which comes early in the season and is best for use in cooking – try gooseberry fool or poach them and serve with fish. The late-season gooseberry is delicious eaten raw. Make jam with them or eat in a salad. They are packed full of vitamin A and C and can be stored in the fridge for up to three days before eating.

Strawberries and Grapes
These are delicious summer small fruits and are both incredibly versatile. Strawberries can be eaten raw, served with cream, made into jams, jelly, coolie, tarts, or dried and eaten as a snack. Grapes make superb wine, can be eaten raw, and when dried they turn into raisins, which add a completely different textural and taste sensation.

Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, manganese and folic acid. Grapes contain vitamins A, C and B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium and folic acid. Both fruits are best eaten fresh.It’s no secret that eating fruit is good for you. British berries are fantastically varied and versatile and are tasty and nutritious too.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Gramps - I shouldn't worry, it's much better they pluck a ripe berry from a naturally grown plant than eat one that has been sprayed with herbicides. They are much better for you and full of anti-oxidants. If you are really worried you could perhaps do some canopy management by plucking away the low leaves and buds, so there is no growth where young hands can reach.
Mel - 17-Feb-15 @ 12:04 PM
I'm going to plant canes for the first time, I need advice on infection and pest control that will be safe should little fingers take one to eat and the fruit not washed. Thank you. Gramps
Gramps - 15-Feb-15 @ 8:24 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Lovescats333
    Re: Why do we not hear about Winberries?
    Wimberry pie is unbelievable. I've just (by accident) found some frozen in lidls! They are called blueberries but…
    16 January 2021
  • And.
    Re: Growing Avocados
    Great site, are any of the gardeners on this site willing to send me some cuttings from their Avocado trees, paticular the ones with a year or to…
    12 January 2021
  • Suni
    Re: How Do I Ensure Jars are Sealed Properly?
    I need advice on sealing pickle jars please.Thanks you.
    17 December 2020
  • Jambo
    Re: Growing Avocados
    I have eight avocado plants in my greenhouse each one in a 20cm pot and growing well. They are all about 45cm tall. My pride and joy avocado tree…
    2 December 2020
  • Monir
    Re: Growing Avocados
    I have About 40 avocado Tree About 1 meter I grow from seed about 10 verity some shoot 3 Brunch some single one and outside in London all year…
    8 November 2020
  • Monir
    Re: Growing Avocados
    I have About 40 avocado Tree About 1 meter I grow from seed about 10 verity some shoot 3 Brunch some single one and outside in London all year…
    8 November 2020
  • Frank
    Re: Growing Avocados
    Hello Fruitexpert. Would love to see the big trees in the south - any chance of sharing contact? For those wanting to help the trees with winter…
    21 October 2020
  • Jan
    Re: Growing Avocados
    I threw avocado stones out of the kitchen window and now have avocado bushes rather than trees! One is 4ft by 4ft! No fruit but its only about…
    17 October 2020
  • Eddyj
    Re: Why do we not hear about Winberries?
    Winberry and apple, or winberry and mint tart. Yum!! Sadly our local patch has been cleared to make way for cycle paths,…
    19 September 2020
  • tapan
    Re: How to Make Fruit Liqueurs
    this is - 15 Sep 2020 there is a lot of stuff one here which is quite out of date, I have been making wines of many fruits for…
    15 September 2020