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Raspberry information, history and recipes


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June 2002




Raspberries, often referred to as  brambles,  are a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family, Subgenus Idaeobatus.  There are over 200 species of raspberry, most of which are red  (European) and some of which are black (US). Botanically speaking, raspberries not berries, but a collection of "drupelets",  each "drupe" containing a seed. They contain high concentrations of Vitamin C and are an excellent source of folic acid, niacin, and riboflavin. 



Origin and History of Raspberries


Whilst red raspberries are thought to originate in Asia Minor, there are Roman records dating back to the 4th century AD. It is natural to assume that the Romans initially spread the cultivation of raspberries throughout Europe however it was the English  who cultivated,  hybridised and improved them throughout the middle ages and subsequently exported the plants to the US by the late 1700's.


raspberriesBlack.gif (27391 bytes)The Black raspberry is indigenous only to North America, where it is most abundant in the east.  Domestic cultivation seemed to have been delayed until the 1800s due to the popularity of red raspberries which were classed as a luxury up until that time.


Some cultures consider the raspberry as a love-inducing fruit. More commonly raspberry is used during pregnancy in tea or other vehicles for combating the nausea and vomiting that accompany morning sickness.



Cultivation of Raspberries


RaspberryCanes.jpg (4577 bytes)Raspberries can be grown just about anywhere in temperate zones where the summers are not too hot.  The fruit are produced on "canes" which are usually trained up trellis, fences or wires. They should be grown in full sunlight, although a little shade can be tolerated,  and they grow best in well-drained, sandy loam soils which are rich in organic material.  The best time to plant raspberries is in the autumn, after fruiting. 


Whilst the plant itself is a perennial,  the canes should be cut back to ground level once they have fruited, when new canes will start to shoot and can be trained to take their place. The picking season is usually  mid summer (Mid June -  July in the UK) although there are now varieties which extend the season, both earlier and later.


Buying and storing Raspberries


When buying, look for firm, dry berries. Avoid very soft fruit, or those with any trace of mildew. They are highly perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchasing or picking.


RaspberryPreserve.jpg (12072 bytes)Freezing Raspberries:  Arrange in a rigid container in a single layer.


Preserving raspberries: As with all jams and preserves, only good quality fruit should be used. Do not be tempted to use fruit which are past their best. There are a couple of recipes listed below which should ensure you can make the most of any glut.


Tinned: These are particularly suitable in the making of  sauces and coulis.




Click here for lots of sweet & savoury raspberry Recipes



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