Last week we brought you all the yummy information on strawberries. This week, we’d love to introduce you to the facts on raspberries! These delicious little berries pack a punch in the health department and are a great summer treat. Dig in!
History of Raspberries
Raspberries weren’t always a fruit favorite. In fact, no one really cared about eating them at first. Instead, the roots and blossoms of the wild raspberry plants were used for medicinal purposes: to make eye ointments, astringents, and teas for stomach and throat problems.
It wasn’t until the 4th century, when Romans began spreading raspberries throughout Europe. Twelve centuries later, Europeans had raspberry plants in their home gardens and began to use them as food. Raspberries came to America in the late 1700s and commercial production began to rise.
Today there are more than 200 species of raspberries on five continents! You all know and love the red raspberries, but did you know they also come in gold, purple, black, and white? Like the strawberry, raspberries are not a true fruit. They are actually a collection of smaller seed fruits called “drupelets”.
Where Can I Buy Raspberries?
Pick up raspberries at any local grocery store. To find the healthiest raspberries, head to your local Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s for the organic choice. Raspberries are expensive to buy at the store for several reasons. Their softness and tendency to bruise easily make them highly perishable and hard to ship.
Where Are They Grown Locally?
Check out this website, Local Difference, for tons of farms that offer raspberry picking or simply sell delicious raspberries.
Organic vs. Conventional
So should you buy those conventional raspberries at your local Meijer or head to a Whole Foods Market to get organic?
Growing conventional raspberries involves using methyl bromide as a pre-plant fumigant for soil. Methyl bromide is a toxic chemical that has resulted in harmful side-effects to farm workers.
We recommend choosing the safe option and picking organic raspberries. They are a bit more expensive, but if you care about our planet and your health, it is the right choice. Organic raspberries use less non-renewable resources, eliminate the use of toxic chemicals that harm our environment and health of farmers, conserves resources, and values health.
If you simply can’t afford to choose all organic fruits and vegetables, be sure to clean your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Scrub using a vegetable brush, soak in either salt water or vinegar, and peel the skin off whenever possible.
What makes the raspberry so special? For one thing, it’s a superfood, meaning it has a nutritional value that’s top-notch. Raspberries contain significant amounts of vitamin C and folate as well as the minerals potassium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Also found in raspberries is the antioxidant anthocyanin, which gives the berries their red color and helps control diabetes and slow the effects of aging. Besides all that, raspberries boast a healthy dose of ellagic acid, a powerful cancer-fighting substance, and fiber – a cupful provides about eight grams.
Some Yummy & Healthy Recipes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 3/4 hours
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 3/4 cup hoisin sauce, (see Ingredient Note)
- 5 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 strip (2-by-1/2-inch) orange zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, each cut into 3 crosswise strips
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup long- or medium-grain brown rice
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens, divided
- Combine raspberries, hoisin sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, garlic, orange zest, ginger, pepper and crushed red pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside 1/4 cup for a dipping sauce.
- Transfer the remaining marinade to a medium bowl and add chicken; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Combine water and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until ready to serve.
- Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat the broiler to high.
- Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the marinade, scrape off excess (discard marinade), and thread onto 4 skewers, distributing equally.
- Grill the chicken until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. If using the broiler, place the chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray and broil 4 inches from the heat source until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the rice with the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/4 cup scallions; fluff with a fork. Sprinkle the chicken and rice with the remaining scallions. Serve with the reserved dipping sauce.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Marinate for up to 24 hours before grilling. | Equipment: 4 skewers
- Ingredient Note: Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark brown, spicy-sweet sauce made from soybeans and a complex mix of spices. Look for it in the Asian section of your supermarket.
Per serving: 398 calories; 11 g fat ( 3 g sat , 4 g mono ); 86 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 4 g fiber; 313 mg sodium; 376 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (54% daily value), Zinc (20% dv), Fiber (16% dv).
Carbohydrate Servings: 3
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat
About 10 (3-ounce) freezer pops
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 1/4 hours
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2 cups nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style (see Note)
- 3-5 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Puree raspberries, yogurt and sugar to taste in a food processor until smooth.
- Divide the mixture among freezer-pop molds, stopping about 1 inch from the top. Evenly divide chocolate chips among the molds. Stir the chips into the raspberry mixture, stirring out any air pockets at the same time. Insert the sticks and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Dip the molds briefly in hot water before unmolding.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Freeze for up to 3 weeks. | Equipment: Ten 3-ounce (or similar-size) freezer-pop molds
- Ingredient Note: Greek-style yogurt is made by removing the whey from cultured milk, which gives the yogurt an extra-thick and creamy texture. Look for it with other yogurt in large supermarkets.
Per serving: 87 calories; 3 g fat ( 2 g sat , 1 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 18 mg sodium; 69 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 1/2 nonfat milk, 1/2 carbohydrate (other)
Some information courtesy of Suite101.com.
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