Fun Facts About Raspberries
Raspberries are one of the most popular berries in the world, prized for their sweet juicy taste and vibrant red color. Though commonly thought of as a single berry, raspberries are actually made up of around 100 individual drupelets clustered around a central core. Here are some interesting facts about these tasty fruits:
Origins Of Raspberries
Raspberries are native to Asia and have been consumed there for thousands of years. Historical records show their cultivation in ancient Rome and their spread to Europe during medieval times. The first raspberry plants were brought to North America by colonists where they grew wild before being commercially cultivated.
Raspberries are members of the rose family and are classified as brambles, along with blackberries. They are perennials with woody stems known as canes that live for two years. In the first year, canes grow vegetatively and do not produce fruit. In the second year, lateral branches called primocanes grow off the canes and bear the raspberry fruits. After fruiting, the canes die back to be replaced by new first-year canes.
While red is the most common, raspberries actually come in a rainbow of colors including black, purple, orange, yellow and white. Each color has a distinct flavor profile, from the intense sweet-tartness of reds to the musky, wine-like notes of black raspberries.
Nutrition Facts Of Raspberries
Raspberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that provide health benefits. Just one cup contains more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C needed. Raspberries are also high in manganese, which supports bone health. The anthocyanins that give raspberries their color are antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and lower risk of chronic illnesses.
In 2022, world production of raspberries topped 870,000 tons. Russia was the leading producer, growing nearly 20% of the global harvest. The United States came in third behind Serbia, producing around 60,000 tons annually. California, Oregon and Washington are the top raspberry growing states.
- While most commonly eaten fresh or used in jams, juices and desserts, raspberries can be utilized in interesting savory dishes as well. Their fruity acidity pairs well with creamy or earthy foods like goat cheese, dark chocolate and mushrooms. Raspberry vinegar adds bright flavor to vinaigrettes and marinades. Dried raspberries lend tart-sweetness to tea blends and baked goods.
Raspberry Fun Facts
- Raspberries are not true berries but aggregate fruits, like blackberries. True berries only have one seed, like grapes or tomatoes.
- Raspberry seeds likely traveled to the Americas hidden in the crevices of birds’ feet and feathers.
- There are over 200 cultivar varieties of raspberries. Popular types include Willamette, Heritage, Fallgold and Tulameen.
- Yellow raspberries, native to Asia, have an exceptionally sweet flavor caused by a genetic mutation.
- Raspberry ketones, compounds that give raspberries their fragrant aroma, are used in cosmetics, processed foods and weight loss supplements.
- Raspberries were once called ‘hindberries’ because they grew wild at the back of most English gardens.
- Scotland produces over 85% of the European Union’s raspberries, around 38,000 tons annually.
- Thimbleberries, ground berries, wineberries, mayhaw berries, salmonberries, cloudberries and boysenberries are all raspberry relatives.
- Rubus spectabilis, the golden everbearing raspberry, is the largest type of raspberry plant, growing up to 20 feet tall and wide.
- In a raspberry tunnel, canes are trained up wire supports in arched rows to allow easy picking access underneath.
- Raspberry bushy dwarf virus is a harmful disease that stunts raspberry plant growth. It is spread by pollen and vegetative propagation.
- The raspberry horned gall wasp lays its eggs in raspberry canes, causing abnormal plant growths called galls to form.
- The character design for Donkey Kong in the 1981 classic video game was based on a Popeye raspberry-peeling machine.
- Raspberry pi is a series of tiny, low cost, credit card sized computers developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote computer education.
What is the best way to store raspberries?
Raspberries are delicate and highly perishable. The best way to store them is in a single layer in a shallow container lined with paper towels. Refrigerate uncovered for 1-2 days maximum. Do not wash until ready to eat. Washing causes them to become waterlogged and prone to mold.
How do you know when raspberries are ripe?
Look for plump, firm raspberries that are richly colored, not dull or faded. Avoid any that are leaking juice or look moldy. Give the container a gentle shake – if raspberries come loose easily they are ripe. Underripe berries won’t detach. Let unripe berries ripen at room temperature out of sunlight.
Can raspberries be frozen?
Yes, raspberries freeze very well. First gently rinse and pat dry. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags or containers. Seal tightly and remove excess air. Properly frozen, raspberries will last up to one year.
What is the best way to eat raspberries?
Raspberries are delicious eaten fresh, chilled, at room temperature or baked into desserts. Their short shelf life means fresh raspberries should be enjoyed as soon as possible. Frozen raspberries retain their texture well for smoothies, sauces, jam or adding to yogurt or oatmeal. Dried raspberries work well in baked goods, salads or trail mixes.
Are raspberries healthy?
Yes! Raspberries are packed with vitamin C, manganese, fiber and antioxidants. Their nutrients and phytochemicals have been shown to help reduce inflammation, lower heart disease and diabetes risk, and may even help prevent some cancers. One cup of raspberries has just 65 calories, 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber.
How do you grow raspberries?
Raspberries grow on woody biennial canes. Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Plant dormant canes 2 feet apart in early spring. Train new primocanes to a trellis or wires. Prune out old floricanes after harvest. Provide regular water and fertilizer. Mulch to conserve moisture. Some summer tipping will increase yields.
What types of raspberries are best for baking?
Any fresh raspberry can be used for baking, but sturdy, large fruited varieties hold their shape best when heated. Good baking choices include Boyne, Killarney, Tulameen, Souris and Joan J. If using frozen raspberries, thaw first and drain juices to prevent muffins or cakes from becoming soggy.
Do raspberries continue ripening after picking?
Raspberries do not get any sweeter after picking. Their sugar content is highest 1-2 days before ideal picking ripeness. Refrigeration slows their respiration rate and breakdown of sugars. Leaving raspberries on the counter shrivels them as moisture evaporates and mold grows quickly in the sugars leaked through their fragile drupelets.
Are wild raspberries safe to eat?
Wild raspberries foraging requires caution. Only pick ripe, undamaged berries from plants you can identify. Avoid roadside or potentially sprayed plants. Berries should not have any green or white color. They are safe to consume if they come cleanly off the core when picked. Always follow proper food safety guidelines and consider potential contamination risks before eating wild berries.