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Raspberries

Why Eat It
Varieties
Availability
Shopping
Storage
Preparation
Nutrition Chart


Why Eat It

Fragile and expensive raspberries have a matchless perfume-like fragrance and incomparable flavor. Despite their apparent delicacy, they are nutritional powerhouses and packed with fiber (thanks in part to their tiny edible seeds). Some of the fiber is soluble fiber in the form of pectin that lowers cholesterol. Their phytochemical content includes such cancer-fighters as beta-carotene, ellagic acid, catechins, and monoterpenes (which also inhibit cholesterol production). Raspberries are a good source of vitamin C, too.

Varieties

Most cultivated raspberries are red, but there are also varieties in yellow, apricot, amber, and purple (or "black")--all similar in flavor and texture.

Availability

In the northeastern U.S., local varieties are available at farm stands and markets from midsummer to late summer; however, most of the berries comes from California from June through October. Chilean imports may be available at other times of the year, although supplies are limited and prices are very high.

Shopping

A bramble fruit like blackberries, raspberries have a delicate structure with a hollow core, so that they have to be handled very gently and eaten as soon as possible. (Once they reach market, they have a shelf life of a day or two.) Choose berries very carefully; they are often packaged in opaque boxes that may conceal inferior fruit beneath a display of perfect specimens on top. If the box is cellophane wrapped, examine the berries you can see, and observe the box for dampness or stains indicating the fruit below may be decaying. If the box is not wrapped, you can remove a few of the top berries and peek beneath. Raspberries should be plump, dry, firm, well shaped and uniformly colored. Pass up berries that are withered or crushed.

Storage

Raspberries (in fact berries in general) are the most perishable of fruits; they can turn soft, mushy, and moldy within 24 hours. When you bring home a box of raspberries, turn it out and check the fruit. Remove soft, overripe berries for immediate consumption and discard any smashed or moldy berries. Gently blot the remainder dry with a paper towel. Return the raspberries to the box or, better yet, spread them on a shallow plate or pan and cover with paper towels, then with plastic wrap. Raspberries should be used within a day or two of purchase.

Raspberries freeze beautifully, allowing you to enjoy them practically year-round. You can buy packaged frozen berries, but these may have had sweetener added. Freezing berries is simple. Rinse and drain raspberries using the sink sprayer so a forceful flow of water does not crush them. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until they are solidly frozen. Transfer the frozen berries to a heavy plastic bag. They will keep for 10 months to a year.

Preparation

Sort berries again before serving, discarding any bad ones. Rinse the fruit, drain, and gently pat dry. Frozen berries need not be thawed before using them in recipes, but extra cooking time may be necessary.

Nutrition Chart

Raspberries/1 cup fresh

60
Total fat (g)
0.7
Saturated fat (g)
0
Monounsaturated fat (g)
0.1
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
0.4
Dietary fiber (g)
8.4
1
Carbohydrate (g)
14
Cholesterol (mg)
0
Sodium (mg)
0
Vitamin C (mg)
31
Manganese (mg)
1.2


Date Published: 04/21/2005
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