Red raspberries are not only a delicious fruit--they have great nutritional value. Once only available mid-summer, raspberries can now be enjoyed fresh, dried or frozen year round.
Red Raspberries are very high in dietary fiber. Up to 20 percent of their total weight is made up of fiber. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, B vitamins, folic acid, manganese, copper, magnesium and iron. One cup of red raspberries provides half the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 60 percent of the RDA for manganese and 33 percent of the RDA for fiber. Eating a cup of red raspberries will provide you with all this nutritional value and you will only be consuming 60 calories.
Red Raspberries are high in antioxidants and polyphenols and have an ORAC value of 4900.They contain high levels of a compound known as ellagic acid, a polyphenol prized for its anticarcinogenic properties. Research indicates that this plant phenol may be an effective cancer preventer and inhibitor. Elligic acid is known to bind cancer-causing chemicals, rendering them inactive.
Red Raspberries are also high is anthocyanins these are known as flavanoid compounds. They are responsible for the berries red color. Anthocyanins have been shown to protect the body against heart disease and dementia. They are also useful in strengthening the veins and circulatory system. It’s worth noting that getting these compounds from whole foods, like red raspberries, seems to be more beneficial that taking them in supplement form.
The leaves of the red raspberry plant have been used for generations for medicinal purposes. Usually steeped into a tea, red raspberry leaves have been used to ease the symptoms of colds, sore throats and diarrhea.
Raspberries go bad very quickly. Fresh raspberries should be consumed within days of purchase. Choose berries that are firm and have a rich, deep color. Avoid berries that are soft or that show any signs of bruising or mold.
Since raspberries perish so quickly, care needs to be taken for proper storage. Remove the berries from the container and throw out any bruised or moldy ones. This will prevent them from contaminating the others. Place the raspberries back into the container unwashed and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Red Raspberries can be stored in the freezer for up to a year. To freeze raspberries, wash them and use a paper towel to gently pat dry. Next, spread the raspberries out on a cookie sheet making sure not to crowd the berries. Transfer the cookie sheet into the freezer and let them freeze for about an hour. Once the berries have frozen, place them into a freezer bag. You can add lemon juice to the berries to help preserve their color.
Frozen raspberries defrost quickly and can be easily added to cereal, yogurt or pancakes. They can be mixed with milk and blended into smoothies. Raspberries also make an interesting addition to salads.