Etymology: 16th century “raspis berry,” origin uncertain.
The Latin name is a poetic reference to Mount Ida in Crete, the birthplace of the raspberry according to Pliny the Elder in the first century AD. The berry’s true origin, however, is uncertain.
Fruit of the raspberry cane, a subshrub and relative of the bramble, that grows 4 1/2 to 6’ high.
The raspberry is a very fragile drupe with velvety skin and soft flavorful acidic pulp, and is red, white or yellow depending on the variety.
It is undoubtedly because the plump perfumed raspberry is so tasty that man tried to domesticate this wild bush as early as the Middle Ages.
Did you know that originally all raspberries were white? But then one day, as the child Jupiter’s furious cries echoed from the mountains, deafening even the Corybants themselves, the nymph Ida, daughter of King Melissos of Crete, tried to pick a raspberry to calm him. As she bent over, she scratched her breast on the thorny canes. Her blood appeared in droplets, forever dying the berries a startling red.
Choose plump unbruised fruit, relatively firm and of an even dark red color.
Raspberries will not ripen further once they are picked. The best time of day to pick them is the morning: they are sweeter then and will keep better.
Wild raspberries are generally smaller than the cultivated variety.
Raspberries are fragile and highly-perishable, so it’s best to store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days at the most without packing them tightly. Sprinkle them lightly with sugar if you wish to keep them a little longer.
Freezing: plain, with sugar, puréed.
Raspberries do not stand up well to washing since they absorb water quickly and soften.
As jam – After picking, raspberries lose their jelling power very quickly so it’s best to get your jam kettle out on the same day you buy them.
Cooked: raspberries don’t stand up to long cooking. They quickly lose part of their delicate flavor. Simply heat them gently at the last minute.
Raspberry feuilleté – puff pastry, whipped cream, fresh raspberries; drizzle with raspberry sauce.
Raspberry butter – In a food processor or blender purée 14 oz. raspberries; blend into some butter with 1 tsp. honey. Goes well with chicken, brioche or croissants.
Make raspberries into a coulis with sugar. To enhance the flavor, you could add a few drops of blackcurrant liqueur (cassis).
Refreshing granita – Into a blender container place 10 oz. raspberries, 1 tbsp. sugar, 3 tbsp. dried lemon verbena and 6 ice cubes. Blend on high until granular. Divide among tall glasses; top with a small scoop of ice cream and some whipped cream.
Raspberries contain potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. Their small cellulose-rich “seeds” promote intestinal transit and effectively prevent constipation. In the old days, raspberry juice was used to regularize menstrual flow.
Nutritional values per 100 g
Water: 80 g; calories: 40 ; carbohydrates: 1.2 g ; protein: 1.2 g. Rich in minerals, fiber (6.7 g) and vitamins A, B and C.
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