What are tayberries?
Like the loganberry, the tayberry is a cross between the red raspberry and blackberry. It’s a cone-shaped fruit that can grow up to 4cm (1½in) long. It has a strong aromatic flavour and is less acidic than the loganberry, which has a similar parentage. It was first registered in 1979, and is named after Scotland’s Tay River. It’s a reliable and prolific cropper, but the fruit is very soft when ripe and can only be harvested by hand, which is why it’s not often seen commercially. Tayberries usually retain their inner core when picked.
How to cook tayberries
The flavour of tayberries is best appreciated raw. If they’re really soft, crush them with a little sugar and serve as a sauce over ice cream, or a spread for cream scones, waffles, pancakes or pikelets. However, tayberries also make splendid jam, and can be added to other fruits, like apples, in pies. Tayberry wine is also very good.
They can also be macerated in cider vinegar, vodka, gin or brandy. Leave the whole fruit to macerate with the liquid in a sealed container for several weeks in a cool, dark place. Once the flavour is to your taste, strain through fine muslin, adding a touch of sugar, if you like. Some fine, pith-free orange zest is a good addition to the maceration process. Repeat if you like a stronger flavour.
How to store tayberries
The less storage the better, but refrigeration can help. Store them in layers rather than heaps, or their own weight will compromise their fragility and you’ll end up with gooey berries.
When are tayberries in season?
In the UK, tayberries ripen in late July and are available through August.
Choose the best tayberries
Any tayberries available commercially might have been picked under-ripe. Tayberries really are something to grow yourself, even if it’s the only berry you grow – but you’ll need space for this. Artisan growers often sell them in markets and fairs; if they seem too soft to enjoy as they are, tayberries can be used many other ways.