The gorgeous red raspberries I had in my smoothie this morning have a particularly interesting history. They were favored in biblical times by the people of Troy who gathered them at the foothills of Mt. Ida. Later, the Romans brought the raspberry to Europe, where it gained great popularity.
Even King Edward encouraged his subjects to grow them in the thirteenth century, catapulting raspberries to fame throughout Great Britain. Today, most of the raspberries in the US are grown between June and October in Washington, Oregon and California. You may find local varieties depending on climate. A member of the rose family, raspberries are known as “aggregate fruits” because tiny little seed-containing fruits gather together around a hollow center, giving them their characteristic shape and size.
Raspberries are high in antioxidants and dietary fiber. While a healthy, refreshing raspberry smoothie is always a good start, you’ll appreciate these delicious little fruits in everything from salads to soups and desserts to side dishes. Fresh and frozen raspberries can be used interchangeably. Enjoy these delicious ideas for both:
- Add to fruit salads, juice blends and smoothies, like this Pineapple Raspberry Smoothie.
- Place in a large tumbler and top with sparkling water or unsweetened raspberry juice.
- Make a raspberry pie or this Summer Berry Pie.
- Sprinkle over ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt or any favorite non-dairy frozen dessert.
- Stir into dairy or non-dairy yogurt.
- Mash into cream cheese. Add honey if desired and spread on toast, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles or scones.
- Sprinkle over a fresh green salad. Here’s a crispy cool Raspberry Walnut Salad.
- Purée into a favorite vinaigrette dressing. Try this Raspberry Vinaigrette using fresh raspberries in place of strawberries along with the raspberry vinegar or make this wonderful Salmon with Raspberry Vinaigrette.
- Eat them plain, savoring one at a time.
- Add to grain salads and hot cooked grain dishes.
- Pair with cheese and sparkling white wine or champagne.
- Make a creamy dessert like this vegan Raspberry Mousse.
- Make a cobbler, crisp or crumble, like this Raspberry Almond Crumble.
- Add to muffins and quick breads. Try these Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes.
- Pair with grilled chicken, fish or pork. This Pork Medallions with Raspberry Sauce recipe is sure to be a favorite.
- Having company? Consider either Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Raspberries or this Cocoa Linzer Torte.
- Make a favorite cheesecake and stir in raspberries or decorate the top.
- Dip in dark chocolate and freeze for a fun, delicious treat.
- Make cold Berry Dessert Soup.
- This summer, keep your cool with this Fresh Berry Granita.
- Make a Raw Berry Crisp that’s full of raspberries.
Raspberries are fragile and highly perishable — treat with care! Choose berries that are plump, dry and even-colored. If possible, store in the original container for no more than two days.
Do not wash until just before using. Wash very gently and pat dry before serving. Lucky for us, raspberries freeze beautifully. Wash carefully to maintain shape. Pat dry and arrange on a cookie sheet. Freeze, then transfer to plastic bag. Keep frozen to use as needed. Of course, you can easily purchase a package from the freezer of your local store.
Do you relish the ruby red raspberry? Got a favorite recipe? Let me know.