Enjoy nutritious and delicious raspberries this fall

By: 
Vicki Hayman

S

ummer is a great time of year to add healthy variety to your diet with fruits and vegetables that are in their peak season. Bright red raspberries are not only delicious, they are rich sources of health-promoting plant-derived chemicals, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. 

The raspberry is considered a bramble fruit and is a member of the rose family. It has an aggregate or composite structure, like the blackberry, and is made of multiple “drupelets,” or seed-containing fruits, nestled around a hollow center. Raspberries are usually planted in fields or forest clearings, and the plant is very hardy, having a tendency to overgrow unless pruned. Fruit is ripe and ready for picking when it falls easily from the stem. Raspberries can be enjoyed raw or cooked in pies, jams, and sauces. The leaves are brewed in teas.

Raspberries are one of the most delicate fruits, with a tart flavor and velvety texture. Raspberries are very susceptible to mold; therefore, many of the raspberries grown are marketed to be frozen. Typically, frozen berries can contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than fresh because they are frozen at their peak freshness. The peak domestic season for raspberries is late May to November.

 

Health benefits 

of raspberries

Along with other berries, such as blackberries and strawberries, raspberries are one of the five best low-sugar fruits for people with diabetes and those looking to follow a lower-carbohydrate diet. The reason for this is because the portion size is generous, and the carbohydrates are relatively low.

Raspberries are rich in filling, heart-healthy fiber. Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrates that can help to keep you full, pull cholesterol away from your heart, regulate bowels, protect against certain cancers, and reduce how quickly blood sugar rises. One cup of raspberries contains a mere 64 calories and packs in a whopping 8 grams of fiber (more than 30 percent of your daily needs), making them an extremely filling fruit option. Surprisingly, one cup of raspberries provides 50 percent of the daily needs for vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important vitamin that can help to boost the immune system, repair tissues, aid in wound healing, and can have anti-aging effects.

 

Choosing the best 

raspberries

When purchasing fresh raspberries, look for plump, firm, and fragrant berries, free of their hulls. Inspect containers for mold and avoid those that have begun to develop mold as these berries are starting to go bad.

Raspberries are available year-round in the markets, however, they are fresh and plentiful from June until October. In general, the berries are ready for harvesting when they come off the receptacle easily and turn into deep color (red, black, purple, or golden yellow, depending upon the species); at the stage when they are said to be ripe and the sweetest.

 

Storing and serving

raspberries

Raspberries perish early! They should only be purchased a few days before their use. Just before storing inside the refrigerator, sort-out damaged or bruised berries so that they should not spoil others. You can store fresh berries in the refrigerator uncovered, in a single layer on a paper-towel-lined plate for two to three days. Avoid washing until right before consumption, as washing too soon can cause the raspberries to spoil. Frozen raspberries typically last in the freezer for up to 12 months.

Fresh raspberries are a great food to enjoy while they are in their peak season, they have great flavor and are full of nutrients. The most common type of berry is the red-raspberry, but raspberries can also be black, purple, and golden, so watch for these varieties at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

That funny-looking hole in the middle of the raspberry occurs because when they are ripe, the berry pulls away easily from its white core, leaving the characteristic of a hollow center. The hollow center makes eating berries fun, as kids often put them on their fingertips.

Here are some serving tips:

• Mix raspberries with cold or hot cereal.

• Fresh raspberries are a great addition to fruit or green salads.

• Raspberries make a flavorful snack to enjoy in between meals.

• Raspberries are a popular addition to dairy products, as in flavored ice creams, milkshakes, smoothies, and yogurt.

• Pureed raspberries can be used as a sauce for savory dishes and sweet desserts.

• It is important that raspberries are brought to room temperature before eating to bring out the fullest flavors in the fruit. • Take them out of the refrigerator one hour before eating.

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love raspberries for their sweet flavor with a hint of tartness and their deep ruby color. Get cooking — you can’t go wrong when adding these nutrient-rich berries to your meal plan!

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