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The 1000 properties of the Raspberry

by Carmine Rizzo 27 Oct 2022
In northern Europe, the raspberry is often cultivated as a hedge, initially for its fruit but later also as a garden specimen. The species requires no special care if conditions are favourable. The fruit has a sweet sourish taste that varies greatly between cultivars; those sold in supermarkets tend to be less tasty than the directly sold by-products.

The raspberry is a small but powerful berry. It is full of antioxidants and can be grown in minimal space or when there is no access to chemical fertilisers. Raspberry leaves are deep green at the top and white and hairy at the bottom. The margin is toothed or serrated. The base is rounded and the tip pointed.

Cultivation Of The Raspberry

Yields per hectare are considerable and every year raspberry cultivation spreads rapidly, thanks to 'made in Italy' production that is highly appreciated in world exports. It is therefore not surprising that in our country there are now around 4 thousand specialised farms at the heart of this speciality, with almost 50 thousand hectares under cultivation and a total turnover that can be estimated at almost 100 million euros per year.

From an environmental point of view, it is easy to cultivate what will best meet the new needs of our society, which have increasingly shifted their attention towards a sustainable relationship with nature. Specifically, these are crops that have been designed to be as compatible as possible with traditional farming activities, producing on well-modernised and naturally fertile soil, a practice that would be unthinkable for intensified and genetically modified crops.

The fertility of the soil is also reflected in the yields: raspberry plantations guarantee average yields of over 20 quintals per hectare, although it is easy to exceed 40 quintals. A result that is often much higher than that achieved by other horticultural crops

The raspberry can be easily recognised by its large, deciduous leaves with rather elongated lobes ending in a rounded tip; they vary in length from 5 to 10 cm, but in the varieties with smaller fruits the leaves are short and wider. The berries are green when they open, then deep red to yellow-orange as they ripen to black in early autumn.

The presence of numerous moths and butterflies in a place is an indication that there are good food sources there (such as raspberries). Insect reproduction also depends on the presence of the plant: the pollen of the fruit is especially useful for the production of the most colourful animal species, namely the entomophagous seven-spined moths of the family Noctuidae. The insects we see in the morning bearers of flowers

The raspberry can be used to make a dessert with milk, sugar and cream or else baked, like pears and berries. The suckers can be used to give flavour to dishes cooked in melted milk by adding honey to the final product; in traditional northern European cooking the product is called trifle. Virtually all parts of the plant are used, especially the dried bark and leaves. The root can be used as an ingredient for various cooked dishes; after rinsing it is almost entirely consumed as a vegetable, others also use the seeds (also in the form of juice).

Raspberry is added as a spice to pastry cakes instead of vanilla or sold on its own with the addition of orange juice or icing sugar. Medically, raspberry is used to treat spring flu or a persistent cough. It is also used as a liver remedy and is a powerful 'febrifuge'.

The raspberry peels are fleshy and juicy and very popular, especially in oriental cooking. The most common recipe, however, consists of cooking them with brown sugar or other natural sweeteners, milk, starch (e.g. stracchina) and other ingredients. The result is a kind of jelly that can then be served with cream or whipped and spread on a biscuit like butter.

What vitamins does the raspberry have?

With 34 calories per 100 grams, here are the values

72% carbohydrates
16% lipids
12% protein
Specifically, 100 grams of raspberries provide

84.6 g water
1 g of protein
0.6 g lipids (including omega-3 fatty acids)
6.5 g soluble sugars
7.4 g of fibre
Among the vitamins and minerals, 100 g of raspberries provide:

25 mg vitamin C
0.5 mg niacin
0.05 mg thiamine
0.02 mg of riboflavin
13 µg vitamin A (retinol equivalent)
vitamin K
pantothenic acid
vitamin E
220 g potassium
52 mg phosphorus
49 mg calcium
3 mg of sodium
1 mg iron

The Best Season

The red-coloured fruit is a delicious late summer-early autumn treat. These sweet berries are in season from August to September and can be found fresh at this time, but may have an inflated price if you find them outside the peak growing region window.

Black Raspberry

The black raspberry plant is a different species from the red raspberries that are common in the shops. The fruits of these plants also have a different flavour and texture from the red.

How to eat them

The raspberry is a fragile fruit that must be handled with care. The more they are touched, the less their shape and texture remain intact. If you want to eat them from the plant, ripe ones will only last a few hours outside the fridge if they are not eaten immediately after picking!
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