Get in a jam with fuchsias!
Why not use the fruits from your hardy fuchsias to make a delicious preserve?
The fruit or berries of fuchsias are widely seen on hardy varieties planted in the garden. I normally advise removing faded flowers and seed pods to encourage the formation of more flowers. However, if you don’t remove them, they’ll grow and ripen, forming berries that can vary in colour between green and almost black, and in size from a redcurrant to a small grape. Many people are unaware that this fruit is edible and in my garden the blackbirds can often be seen jumping up on my hardy fuchsias to eat this treasure.
The taste of the berries isn’t unpleasant, but is rather bland as they don’t develop a high sugar content, nor are they particularly acidic or have a high tannin content. The red fruit of the New Zealand species Fuchsia
procumbens has a slightly peppery taste and Fuchsia splendens a slightly citrus one. You can find several recipes for making wine, jams, jellies and even sauces and relish on the web. Here’s a widely used recipe for fuchsia berry jam: 453g (1lb) sugar 2 tablespoons water (or apple pectin, apple juice or cider) Juice of 1 lemon 680g (1½lb) of ripe fuchsia berries, washed Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a pan and cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Add the berries gently, folding them in so they don’t break up too much. Bring to the boil. Boil until the mixture will set when tested on a plate. Seal in heated jars. Allow to cool completely before eating, then enjoy!
Red fruit from ‘Delta’s Sara’
The fruit of Fuchsia procumbens