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Raspberry
 

A raspberry, as the name suggests is an edible berry of a multitude of plant species in the subgenus Idaeobatus of the genus Rubus. It is called aggregate fruit, as it is a compilation of smaller seed containing fruits, called druplets, which are arranged around a hollow central cavity. The fruit is extremely delicate and has a melt in the mouth texture. They are extremely fragrant and are sweet and tart to taste.

The most commonly found raspberry is usually pink-red in colour, though they are also available in colours ranging from black, purple, orange, yellow, golden and white. These berries date back to the prehistoric times. It is believed that raspberries originated in east Asia, but there are also varieties,

which originated in the Western hemisphere. They reached various parts of the globe owing to the travelers, birds and insects. The fruit first grew wild, but was later cultivated. Presently, the leading commercial producers of raspberries include Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Germany, Chile and the United States.

 

Different Types of Raspberries
Raspberries may be classified according to their colour or based on the season in which they bear fruit. The ever-bearing varieties bear fruit in the summer months and also in the fall, whereas the summer-bearing variety bear fruits only in summers. These berries are available in a rich assortment of colours, which includes Red, yellow/gold, purple, and black. Some of the most popular varieties of raspberries includes the following:

  • Amity Raspberries: This variety of raspberries is an ever bearing variety. The fruit is generally firm, medium to large and is deep red in colour. It is an ideal variety for pies and jellies
  • Latham Raspberries: Extensively grown in Minnesota, this variety bears fruit in summer. The fruit is deep red in colour, round and the size ranges from small to large.
  • Meeker Raspberries: This is also a summer bearing variety, which produces a thimble shaped large berry, which is deep red in colour and has a high sugar content
  • Willamette Raspberries: They also bear fruit in summers. The berry is firm, conical and usually dark-red and medium to large in size. It has a tart taste due to the less sugar content in it
  • Fall Gold Raspberries: Is an ever bearing variety, producing golden colour berries. The size of the berries ranges from medium to large and are extremely sweet
  • Brandywine Raspberries: They are primarily grown in New York, are summer bearing with a large purple fruit
  • Black Hawk Raspberries: They are black in colour, ranging from medium to large in size. This variety is mainly found in Lowa and bears fruit in mid-summer.
 

Uses of Raspberries

  • Raspberries are a tasty fruit and are best had as its is, i.e. raw
  • One can mix raspberries in with porridge for a sweet morning breakfast
  • Raspberries can be mixed with yogurt and honey and can be used as a topping for pancakes or waffles
  • The berry however, can also be processed into jams and jellies
  • Raspberry juice is extremely sweet and is an excellent source of vitamin C
  • Raspberry smoothies are an absolute delight, and are the best summer drink one can have
  • A natural raspberry paste mixed with yogurt makes for an excellent face pack. It makes your face glow and keeps it away from wrinkles.
 

How to Select and Store
Raspberries are a highly perishable fruit and should be purchased only a day or two before their use. Choose the berries which are plump and are deep in colour. The ones, which are mushy or too soft should be avoided, as they are likely to spoil early. But if you are looking for raspberries to make sauce, it is best to pick the extra soft and mushy ones.

For storing them, care should be taken that the berries are not left at room temperature, as they would spoil. They should always be refrigerated. They can be spread out in a plate lined with a paper towel and then covered with a plastic wrap and then stored in the refigerator. They keep fresh in the refrigerator for about a day or two. They can also be frozen; and frozen berries last for upto one year.

 

Health Benefits of Raspberries

  • Raspberries are a significant source of ellagic acid, a phenolic compound known to have potent anti-carcinogenic properties
  • Raspberries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, the powerful anti-oxidants, which give berries their deep color. These retard the effects of aging, prevent cancer and may reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Raspberries are an excellent source of salicylic acid, a compound closely related to aspirin, which may prevent hardening of the arteries
  • They are also excellent sources of quercetin, a flavonol and anti-oxidant which has anti-carcinogenic properties
  • It also reduces the release of histamines, which may minimize allergic reactions
  • They are an antioxidant food containing ellagic acid and they help prevent unwanted damage to cell membranes and other structures of the body by neutralizing free radicals
  • The leaves of the plant can be used fresh or dried to make herbal and medicinal teas. They have an astringent flavour, and in herbal medicine are reputed to be effective in regulating menses.
  • The seed oil of the fruit has a natural sun protection factor. It contains high amounts of polyphenolic compounds, which are known for their anti-cancer properties
  • It is a fruit rich in fiber and is a among plant foods with the highest fiber contents known, up to 20% fiber per total weight
  • Studies prove that raspberry leaves can be helpful for a sore throat, and can help cure various stomach ailments
  • Tea made with raspberry leaves has been used long in history to encourage speedy childbirth