Raspberries are a ” superfood”, meaning they have a nutritional value that’s top-notch. Raspberries contain significant amounts of vitamin C and folate as well as the minerals potassium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Also found in raspberries is the antioxidant anthocyanin, which gives the berries their red color and helps control diabetes and slow the effects of aging. Besides all that, raspberries boast a healthy dose of ellagic acid, a powerful cancer-fighting substance, and fiber – a cupful provides about eight grams.
Health benefits aren’t the only thing that put raspberries in a league of their own. Here are some other noteworthy facts about this unique member of the rose family:
- There are more than 200 species of raspberries that grow on five continents. And they’re not just available in red. Raspberries come in shades of gold, purple, black, and white.
- Because raspberries and blackberries are similar bramble fruits, some people can’t tell a black raspberry from a blackberry. The difference? Raspberries have a hollow center. They’re also smaller and more delicate, plus they usually develop more quickly than blackberries.
- Not a true berry, raspberries are considered an aggregate or composite fruit since they are actually a collection of smaller seed fruits called “drupelets.”
- Raspberries are expensive to buy at the store for several reasons. Their softness and tendency to bruise easily make them highly perishable and hard to ship. They are also difficult to pick.
- Although raspberries will only last a day or two in the refrigerator, carefully washed, dried, and stored in a heavy plastic bag, they can keep for up to a year in the freezer.
Of course, what’s most special about raspberries is how good they taste, both sweet and tart. well worth the pricks and scratches that come with picking them.
A quick recipe for raspberry jam follows the photos.
Wild Raspberry Jam
(Makes 6-7 ½ pints)
2 qts. Raspberries
1 1.75 oz packet powdered pectin
5 ½ cups sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Sterilize half pint canning jars and lids. ( I keep them warm in a 250 degree F oven)
Crush berries, one layer at a time, in a large pot.
Stir in pectin.
Heat over high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil.
Add all of the sugar and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
Boil for one minute.
Skim, if necessary, and ladle into jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
Wipe rims and apply lids and bands. Screw on fingertip tight.
Process the jars in boiling water canner for 5 minutes.
Cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack.