Raspberries belong to the rose family. In United States, most varieties come from California, where they grow from June to October. They belong to aggregate fruits, because they are composed of many small drupelets gathered around a hollow core.
Raspberries are fragrantly sweet with a slightly tart overtone and they virtually melt in the mouth. The seeds are not as chewy as in blackberries. The most common variety of raspberries is Rubus idaeus, which is reddish-pink, but there are other varieties too, which can be black, purple, white, yellow, and orange. Loganberries and boysenberries are types of raspberry too.
Nutritional value and health benefits
Raspberries, especially red raspberries, are a good source of antioxidants. They contain ellagic acid, which is a tannin. Tannins belong to phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties and they are also found in green tea and red wine.
Flavonoids can be found in raspberries too. They have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Vitamin C, also present in raspberries in significant amounts, is another contributor to the fight against free radicals, which are believed to be responsible for cancer and cell aging.
Raspberries also contain manganese, a mineral known for its ability to repair oxygen-induced damage of the cells.
These berries are rich in riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, copper and potassium.
The presence of dietary fiber, coupled with vitamin B and mineral content, makes raspberries and excellent choice for those who take care of their weight and sugar levels in blood.
Although raspberries are best if eaten fresh, the good news is that freezing them does not decrease the quantity of important nutrients and antioxidants, as it does with other fruits and vegetables. This means that a healthy juice or smoothie made of strawberries can be available all year round, and it is particularly recommended for breakfast. Frozen raspberries can be used to make an icy treat for hot summer days. All it takes is a handful of raspberries, not thawed, some vanilla soy milk and honey. They are blended together and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Raspberries can be used in fruit salads, as decoration on cakes, for shakes and smoothies, they go very well with dark chocolate and with whipped cream.