Nutrition and Health Aspects of Raspberries: Culinary Adventures With A Delicious Berry
Are you a raspberry fan? This particular member of the Rubus genus of plants, especially popular and widely grown in regions including Scotland, Spain and Canada, is renowned for its tart, tingling deliciousness and delectable soft texture – but not only for these things. In appearance the raspberry is an elongated sphere of multiple soft red globes, a slight dustiness on the surface of the unblemished fruit adding to its pleasing beauty. The pale green leaves complete the striking visual effect.
But the raspberry is a very expensive fruit to buy – and in very small, perishable quantities at that! Keep a carton of fresh raspberries just a little too long past their sell-by date, and you're liable to find them profusely dotted with delightful black mould, making them utterly inedible and disgusting. But at their peak, they are a fountain of delicious crimson juice, softly furred, and absolutely yummy with a thick spoonful of sour cream, perhaps, or some smooth greek yoghurt.
It's true that frozen raspberries are a readily available treat all year round, and somewhat more economical to purchase than their fresh equivalents. However, the texture, and to some degree even the taste, of the frozen berry, is not to be compared with the fresh ripe fruit even though in some recipes it may be an adequate substitute. Good quality raspberry jam, though, including low-sugar varieties, is always a pleasure spread liberally on toast or scones. Why not treat yourself, or better yet, make some of your own?
Maybe you'd be better off growing your own raspberries? The berry is not too difficult to grow, on canes that fruit usually once a year. They are readily available from most garden centres, online and quite cheaply in bargain and discount stores – worth keeping an eye out for! As to the ease of producing a crop of raspberries, however, that may depend on your skills as a gardener!
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When it comes to the nutrient content of these tasty little jewels of fruity goodness, then the raspberry has much to offer the health conscious amongst us. With useful quantities of vitamin C and iron, it also has eight grams of fiber per 123 gram serving of raw raspberries, according to the Nutritiondata website. This all adds up to quite a potent cocktail of nutrients for such a small package! The recorded fat content of raspberries is a pleasing single gram per one hundred and twenty three grams, with one gram of protein and fifteen grams of carbohydrate, and just sixty-four calories per 123 grams.
These delightful little berries also contain impressive amounts of antioxidant and possibly anti-proliferative plant chemicals (perhaps potentially active against cancerous cells) such as phenolics, anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, according to studies such as that by Liu et al. That's a whole lot of nutritional goodness per calorie! Why don't you splash out and treat yourself to a punnet of ripe, succulent raspberries today?
1. Wikipedia. 'Raspberry.' Wikipedia website. 29/09/2010. Available at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry> Accessed 05/10/2010.
2. Nutritiondata. 'Raspberries, raw.' Nutritiondata website. 2009. Available at http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2053/2 Accessed 05/10/2010.
3. Liu, M., Li, X.Q., Weber, C., Lee, C.Y., Brown, J, Liu, R.H. 'Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Raspberries.' Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 50:10, 2002, pp. 2926–2930.