Raspberries

Nothing says summer like a basket of freshly picked, locally-grown raspberries. Whether you add them to smoothies or salads, or eat them on their own, you can't beat the delicious taste and nutrient profile of raspberries - they're one of my favourite summer fruits!

Raspberries

Nutrition Notes

Raspberries have a reputation for being a super fruit, and for good reason.  They're high in fibre and packed with powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.  In fact, raspberries rank in the top 50 foods when it comes to their antioxidant powers.

Raspberries stand out from other berries due to their high content of ellagic acid, an anti-cancer phytochemical. Raspberries are also a great source of anthocyanins, natural compounds that have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

And thanks to their lutein content, raspberries may also help protect against cataracts and age related macular degeneration. (Lutein is a phytochemical that helps protect the eye's retina and the lens from oxidative damage.) 

A Canada Food Guide serving of raspberries is ½ cup (125 ml), which provides just 34 calories and 4 grams of fibre.  Raspberries are also deliver vitamin C, manganese, folate and potassium.

Nutrient information per ½ cup (125 ml) fresh raspberries:

Calories

34 kcal

Protein

1 g

Fat

0.4 g

Carbohydrate

8 g

Fibre

4 g

Vitamin C

17 mg

Manganese

0.4 mg

Folate

14 ug

Potassium

98 mg

Lutein

1 mg

Source: Canadian Nutrient File, 2007b

Varieties

Raspberries come in red, yellow, black and purple varieties which are all similar in flavour and texture. However, research suggests that the darker the berry, the greater the phytochemical content and, as a result, the greater the potential for fighting disease.

Buying

Raspberries are the most fragile of all berries. They're also highly perishable, so choose the freshest raspberries possible. They should be firm and dry, not overly soft, shriveled or with any trace of mildew.

Picking your own berries helps to ensure freshness, but be gentle so the they retain their texture. When buying fresh raspberries in the grocery store or market, be choosy; packages of berries may look good on the surface but may hide rotten, moldy berries inside.

If you're buying frozen raspberries, read the label and ingredients carefully as some are packed in syrup. Choose frozen raspberries that are not packed with sugar or syrup and add your own sweetener, if necessary, when preparing your recipe.

Storing

Fresh raspberries are highly perishable and should be refrigerated immediately after purchase. Fresh raspberries should be eaten within 1 or 2 days. You can also freeze them for up to one year.

Preparing

Pick through and discard any undesirable berries. If you're going to eat them right away, rinse them gently using a light stream of water. Rinse berries only right before you intend to eat them. 

To freeze raspberries, rinse the berries, gently pat dry and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, ttransfer the berries to an airtight bag for storage in the freezer, up to 12 months.

Eating

Raspberries can be eaten fresh, tossed into a fruit or vegetable salad, mixed with yogurt, cereal or cottage cheese, blended in a smoothie or protein shake or made into jams, jellies, crumbles and pies.

Frozen raspberries are ideal for smoothies or in recipes where the texture of fresh isn't necessary, such as muffins and quickbreads.

Healthy Ways to Enjoy Raspberries:

Breakfast

  • Mix fresh raspberries into a bowl of creamy hot cereal.
  • Toss a handful of raspberries into pancake batter once it's on the griddle.
  • Whip up a fruit salad: toss together heartier fruit such as oranges, melon, apples and bananas then top with fresh raspberries.
  • Use fresh or frozen raspberries in whole-grain muffins and quick breads. Click here for a recipe.
  • Start your day with a healthy fruit smoothie. Click here for a recipe.

Lunch

  • Sprinkle fresh raspberries onto mixed greens or in a spinach salad. For an extra boost of raspberry flavour, toss with raspberry vinaigrette.
  • On a hot summer day, cool off with a bowl of cold berry soup.

Dinner

  • Add raspberries and chopped, cooked chicken breast to an entrée salad.
  • Mix fresh raspberries with a splash of balsamic vinegar and sprinkle of sugar for a sweet-tart raspberry side dish.
  • Make a simple raspberry coulis by puréeing fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries with sugar and lemon juice to taste. Passing the purée through a fine sieve will help remove seeds. Raspberry coulis can be served as a sauce for savoury poultry dishes.
  • Finish a meal with a baked raspberries and apples. Click here for a recipe.

Snacks

  • Enjoy fresh raspberries on their own for a refreshing snack full of summer flavour and juiciness.
  • Mix plain or flavoured low-fat yogurt with raspberries and top off with a handful or granola, nuts, seeds or rolled oats.
  • A sweet raspberry coulis can be served as a topping for ice cream and desserts.
  • Mash raspberries and add to a drink of sparkling water or soda and a splash of fruit juice for a refreshing summery drink.

Did you know?

  • The ancient Greeks were the first to cultivate raspberries. According to legend, Greek gods went raspberry picking on Mount Ida.

More Information

World's Healthiest Foods

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=39

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry

British Columbia Raspberries

http://bcraspberries.com/

Foodland Ontario

http://www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/fruits/raspberries/index.html