July brings sun, summer and the start of the main soft fruit season. This July we have been having fun once again with some unusual hybrid fruits that have become our ‘signature’ range of jams that are not widely available. These currently include loganberries, tayberries, tummelberries, silvanberries and chuckleberries, but we hope to extend this range in the years to come as we continue to specialise in something a bit more special.
When I am out selling our preserves at fairs and fetes I have to answer the inevitable question “what’s a …….[insert name of a fruit you don’t recognise here]?” on numerous occasions. So I thought it might be helpful to answer this here.
Hybrid fruits are developed by crossing at least two different parent plants and many of those listed above are hybrids of raspberries and blackberries, but not all:
- Loganberry: a raspberry/blackberry hybrid that produces fruit that resembles an elongated raspberry but with a lovely rich although slightly sharper flavour. If allowed to ripen fully they take on a rich deep purple appearance and make a wonderful intensely flavoured jam.
- Tayberry: this blackberry/raspberry hybrid originates from Scotland and is named after the River Tay. The fruit are longer and sweeter than a loganberry producing another wonderfully intensely flavoured jam, but picking is difficult so it is not normally grown that widely.
- Tummelberry: these are a relatively new raspberry/blackberry hybrid. The fruit are large, rounder and juicier with a wonderful bright red colour and a deeply intense flavour – once tasted never forgotten.
- Silvanberry: the silvanberry was hybridised in Australia and is classified within the blackberry family. It was crossed between a marionberry and boysenberry. The fruit are large, dark, juicy and full of vitamin C!
- Chuckleberry: this is perhaps the most unusual berry we use and does raise a smile. Having bought this for the novelty of the name, many of our customers are hooked by the flavour and keep coming back for more. The chuckleberry is a cross between a redcurrant, blackcurrant and a gooseberry (although technically there is some jostaberry in there somewhere – itself a blackcurrant/gooseberry hybrid!). All in all this combination of parents makes for a wonderful intense, rich flavour.
We have three of these available in our range now (loganberry, tayberry and chuckleberry) with more to be added in the future (boysenberry, tummelberry and silvanberry). Having started down this road there is no stopping us so look out for more varieties developing in years to come. Now if only I can get my hands on some wineberries ……. That sounds like my kind of fruit!