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Friday, May 30, 2014

Raspberries

Raspberries:

About:

Raspberry is the edible fruit of the multitude of plant species in the genus "Rubus" of the rose family.  Raspberries are an important modern commercial fruit crop, widely grown in all temperate regions of the world.  Raspberries are grown for the fresh fruit market and for commercial processing into individual quick frozen fruit, pure'e, jams, juice or as dried fruit used in a variety of grocery products.  Scientists are not entirely sure about the origins of raspberries.  There is, however, evidence dating back 2,000 years of raspberry cultivation in Europe.   Raspberries are the third most popular berry after strawberries and blueberries. 

Varieties:

There are over 200 species of raspberries.  Many of the raspberry species that are grown commercially can be placed in one of 3 basic groups.
  • Red raspberries:  may veer towards the pinkish side. They are among the most commonly cultivated.
  • Black raspberries:  may be dark enough to be indistinguishable from blackberries.  They are sometimes referred to as "thimbleberries".
  • Purple raspberries:  are a hybird from combining red and black raspberries

Nutrition:

The aggregate fruit structure contributes to raspberries' nutritional value as it increases the proportion of dietary fiber, which is among the highest known in whole foods.  Raspberries are rich in vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber.  Raspberries have a moderate amount of vitamin K and are a low glycemic index food.  Raspberries contain anthocyamin pigments, ellagic acid, quercetin, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferial and salicylic acid.

Health Benefits:

The health benefits of raspberries are obtained from the entire fruit including the seeds.  Raspberries contain natural plant chemicals that act as antioxidants to locate and destroy disease causing free radicals.  The components in raspberry seeds may help prevent infections (bacterial and viral), heart disease, and cancer.  Few commonly eaten foods are able to provide greater diversity of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  New research shows raspberries can help with the management of obesity amd type 2 diabetes.  Raspberry ketone (also called rheosmin) found in raspberries can increase metabolism in our fat cells making them less likely to deposit fat in the cells.  In persons with obesity and type 2 diabetes tiliroside in raspberries can help improve insulin balance, blood sugar balance, and blood fat balance.  The rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mixture in raspberries also show benefits in cancer prevention. 

My Story:

In the supermarket raspberries were not really a high volume item due to the cost.  I remember one time, when raspberries were on sale, they really flew out the door.  It seemed to be mainly senior citizens,  who were buying them.  When we ran out, I was perturbed, and commented to the other guys, "What, do they help you in the bedroom?"   Well, a few weeks after that I read in the newspaper that raspberries did help with potency.  I laughed at the time and that's my raspberry memory, but I didn't find anything about  raspberries and potency while researching this blog. 

Selecting and Storing:

Raspberries are extremely perishable and should only be purchased one or two days before use.  Choose berries that are firm, plump, and deep in color.  Avoid those that are soft, mushy, or moldy.  If buying in a package, make sure they are not too tightly packed  so as to crush and damage the berries.  Stains of moisture in the package indicate possible damage.  
If not using immediately examine the berries and remove any that are molded or spoiled.  Store unwashed in a sealed container in the refrigerator for one or two days.  Raspberries freeze very well.  Wash gently and pat dry with  paper towel.  Arrange in a single layer on a flat pan and freeze.  Once frozen transfer the raspberries to a heavy plastic bag.  Keep frozen for up to a year. 

So.....Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but good:

Fresh raspberries  or a combination of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries:

Just spoon the berries onto yogurt, breakfast cereal, granola, or even oatmeal.  For extra flavor enhance with some fresh mint.



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