Raspberries are the most expensive and fragile berries, and their supply is extremely limited. A relative of the rose, raspberries are a bramble fruit like blackberries. They have a delicate structure with a hollow core, so they must be handled very gently and eaten as soon as possible.
Wild raspberries are native to North America and Asia Minor. It’s thought that the Romans first cultivated raspberries, and spread them throughout Europe. While wild raspberries were part of the Native American diet, the cultivated raspberries we usually eat were brought here by early European settlers.
Types of Raspberries
Most cultivated raspberries are red, but there are also varieties in yellow, apricot, amber, purple, and black.
Despite their apparent delicacy, raspberries are packed with fiber, thanks in part to their tiny edible seeds. Some of the fiber is soluble fiber in the form of pectin, which lowers cholesterol. Raspberries are also a good source of vitamin C.
Similar to other berries, raspberries are rich in flavonoids called anthocyanins, which gives the berries their brilliant red hues. Preliminary research indicates that anthocyanins may be beneficial to health, though nothing is proven.
For a full listing of nutrients, see Raspberries in the National Nutrient Database.
How to Choose the Best Raspberries
Raspberries should be plump, dry, firm, well shaped, and uniformly colored.
How to store raspberries at home
Raspberries can turn soft, mushy, and moldy within 24 hours. When you bring home a box of raspberries, turn it out and check the fruit. Remove soft, overripe (but still sweet-smelling) berries to eat right away. Discard any smashed berries with an “off” smell, as well as any moldy berries.
Gently blot the remainder dry with a paper towel. Return the raspberries to the box or, better yet, spread them on a shallow plate or pan lined with paper towels. Raspberries should be used within a day or two of purchase.
How to freeze raspberries
Raspberries freeze beautifully, so you enjoy them practically year round. Spread the raspberries out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze the berries until they are solidly frozen, then transfer them to a heavy plastic bag or freezer container. They’ll keep for 10 months to a year. You can also buy prepackaged frozen berries, but check the label for added sugar, which can more than double their calorie count.
Home-frozen berries should be quickly rinsed under cold water before you use them. Commercially frozen berries do not require washing. Frozen berries need not be thawed before using them in recipes, but extra cooking time may be necessary.
9 Ways to Serve Raspberries
Raspberries make a delightful fresh snack, but they also liven up many dishes, from salads to risottos.
Published August 24, 2015