Fruits: Raspberry Rhapsody

Raspberry

Rhaspberries //
Ruby Red Rascals
that burst bright on your tongue
that fleeting moment
is to be sung

Raspberries are such a delicate joyous and hard-to-come-by fruit and I was ecstatic when these rascals were on sale at two for a punnet! While such lovely berries are best to enjoy fresh on its own, I managed some restrain to save a bunch for a smoothie, together with bananas and cacao powder. It was totally worth the self-control.

Origins

The Greeks are believed to be the first to cultivate raspberries on the slopes of Mount Ida on the island of Crete. In Greek stories, Ida, nurse maid to the infant Zeus, pricked her finger while picking snow-white berries thus irrevocably staining the berries red. Perhaps these stories inspired the raspberry’s scientific name, Rubus idaeus, Latin for “bramble bush of Ida.” Although Rubus indicates red, these berries come in a myriad of colors – white, yellow, pink, purple and black (not to be confused with blackberry). The purple raspberry is a cross between the red and black and the yellow is a genetic mutation of the red.

Wealthy medieval Europeans used raspberry juice for food and as a pigment for art work. In Christian art, raspberry was used as the symbol for kindness. The red juice of the berries represented the blood that runs through the heart, where kindness originates.

While called a berry, botanically speaking, the raspberry is an aggregate fruit or etaerio of druplets – a collection of individual fruits clustered around a central core or receptable. This is one way to tell a raspberry apart from a blackberry. When you pick a ripe raspberry the white core is left behind on the plant, but it stays inside a picked blackberry. Without a supporting core, this makes the raspberry a most delicate and fragile berry.

Today raspberries are grown commercially in most U.S. States, especially Washington, Oregon, California and much of the Midwest. They are the third most popular berry in the U.S.

Tasting notes

In a scientific study of different colored raspberries, red raspberries were found to have the highest titratable acids (TA) and lowest ratio of soluble acids to TA, which accounts for that tart flavor of red raspberries. Yellow raspberries are sweeter.

Selecting the best

Choose plump, firm berries and look for tell-tale staining on the bottom of the container, which indicates damaged or crushed fruit.

Store

Raspberries are highly susceptible to gray mould, which readily germinate on the humid surface of the actively respiring fruits. To extend their highly perishable shelf-live, I like to freeze them by place them in a single layer on a tray in the freezer to freeze individually before packaging. There are other methods which call for vinegar and hot baths, but freezing is the easiest solution, I find.

Nutrition highlights

The raspberry fruits and leaves have been used in medical preparations. The leaves are often used in herbal teas or tisane to sooth the digestive system and to relief menstrual cramps.

As with most berries, raspberries contain the anti-oxidant resveratrol which slows the aging process, and anti-cancer ellagic acid. It is also very high in vitamin C.

Recipe notebook and inspiration

Beverages: Raspberry & Mint Tisane │ Banana, Raspberry & Chocolate Smoothie
Breakfast: Raspberry & Matcha Chia Pudding │ Raspberry Baby Danish Crepes
Starter: Blueberry Stuffed Raspberries with Vanilla Macadamia Cheese │ Merry Berries with Balsamic Vinegar and Sage
Mains: Quinoa, Raspberry, Pomegranate & Fennel salad │Raspberry Watermelon Hors d’oeuvre
Desserts: Raspberry Winter Cheesecake Swirls with Snapzels

Day 3 of Monomea1 Project – towards minimalism.
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