Raspberries to that
Ever wondered where the term ‘blowing a raspberry’ came from? It’s kinda obvious in a way because the shape of your mouth when you blow a raspberry looks a bit like a raspberry, but the real low-brow humour comes from the English rhyming slang ‘raspberry tart’ for fart- the noise blowing a raspberry. Ahem, moving right along.
Raspberries are my all time favourite because of their mouth-watering tang and subtle sweetness. It’s a pity they are expensive as they are one of the few fruits you can eat by the tub without blowing your kilojoule budget. One of the main reasons they are expensive is they are highly fragile and have a short shelf life. Their velvety skin is easily damaged and their softness prone to mushiness. Of course even in this less than perfect state they are fine to use in recipes (they’re too good to waste). Look for raspberries in good shape (plump) and rich in colour and store them in the fridge in a single layer on some paper towel. I would recommend you eat them as soon as you get them home while they are still perfect but they will last in the fridge for a few days if they were fresh when you bought them. If by chance you have a surplus, they can also be frozen for up to a year, either in a freezer bag (in a single layer) or suitable solid container.
Another reason raspberries are so special is their fleeting availability only during summer. Luckily they are available frozen to prolong the pleasure through the year and are perfectly fine to use in muffins, loaves, friands, crumbles, tarts and pies, smoothies and yoghurt.
You may not know that raspberry bushes are covered in sharp hairs so in the days before commercial production they were an even greater prize due to the pain incurred during the harvest. Raspberries are easy to grow but easily spread by popping up new stems from the roots underground. Plant them where you won’t mind them getting away, or be prepared to remove the new runners should they pop up where you don’t want them.
When it comes to nutrition raspberries are in the top of the charts for phytochemicals, including ellagic acid, anthocyanins, flavonoids, phenolic acids and tannins that play a variety of roles to benefit health such as reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, enhancing insulin action, and reducing cancer cell activity. They are also rich in vitamin C and fibre, and contain vitamin E, folate and manganese. Just one cup provides around half the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
While raspberries are divine eaten fresh they also add something special to porridge or muesli, fresh squeezed juice, smoothies, yoghurt and fruit salad. And they play a starring role in desserts such as crumble, syllabub, pudding and parfait. If you’re fortunate enough to grow a bumper crop, raspberry jam, jelly and sauce are marvellous ways to keep the good times rolling. Try serving jam on some wholegrain toast with ricotta for an almost-cheesecake experience, and drizzle the sauce over ice cream or yoghurt and garnish with your favourite nuts. Raspberry coulis (pronounced koolie) is simply a sweetened sauce with the seeds strained out and fabulous on just about anything.
I would remiss if I didn’t also mention how well raspberries partner with chocolate, especially the dark, rich, not-too-sweet kind. Top your favourite chocolate dessert with fresh raspberries or raspberry sauce/coulis to take bliss to a whole new level. I will never blow another raspberry again!
Nicole Senior is an Accredited
Nutritionist, author and consultant who strives to make healthy food
taste terrific. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or checkout her website