Raspberries: Sweet Bites of Summertime
Raspberries can often be found topping decadent desserts and fresh salads. What may surprise you is the variety of raspberries you can find! Red is most common, but golden, black and purple varieties are also available. Different hues indicate differing cultivars and levels of ripeness, and each is grown in a special way. The flavors of raspberries can vary from tart to sweet depending on ripeness.
How theyâ€™re grown:
- Raspberry plants, also known as canes, can produce fruit for up to 10 years.
- The raspberry plant actually belongs to the rose family! Rosaceae, the scientific family, actually encompasses many other fruits too, including apples, pears, plums, cherries and strawberries.
- Raspberries are thirsty plants and typically require extensive irrigation.
- They grow best in cooler climates, as the fruit must be rapidly cooled after harvesting.
- Most raspberries are harvested throughout the summer.
How to shop for them:
- Berries should be dry, plump and firm. Raspberries are quite fragile and must be transported with care.
- Avoid berries that appear wet or flattened. Also avoid containers that look stained.
- Color should be bright and consistent throughout the berry.
How to store them:
- Ensure that raspberries are refrigerated in their original container. Donâ€™t put anything on top of the container, so thereâ€™s no risk of crushing the delicate berries.
- Raspberries have a shorter shelf life than many other fruits (only a few days), so eat them quickly!
How to prepare them:
- Do not prewash berries. Wash as needed right before eating and gently pat dry with a paper towel.
- When making raspberry mash or puree, seeds can be removed using a mesh strainer.
How to eat them:
- Use fresh raspberries in muffins and quick breads to increase both fiber and flavor.
- Make frozen yogurt by pureeing frozen raspberries, plain Greek yogurt, honey and fresh lemon juice.
- If your raspberries are slightly overripe, use them to flavor water with some fresh mint or rosemary.
- Use a toothpick to dip fresh raspberries in Greek yogurt, then freeze individually on parchment paper for a quick snack later.
- Use raspberries to liven up homemade barbecue sauce â€“ remember to strain the seeds first!
- Raspberries are high in fiber and vitamin C.
- Theyâ€™re fat-, cholesterol- and gluten-free.
- Raspberries are also low in calories, with only 65 calories per cup!