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Feature Article From Harvest to Health
How to select, store, prepare and preserve a variety of farm-fresh produce





Fresh raspberries of all colors are low in calories—one cup of berries contains only about 60 calories. Raspberries add fiber to the diet and are a fair source of vitamin C.

Selecting Raspberries:

Missouri raspberries are available from June through October. Most raspberries grown in Missouri are red, however, you may also find purple and black varieties. Raspberries do not ripen further after picking. So, for best quality, select fully ripe berries that are firm, plump, and solid in color. Stained or leaking containers indicate raspberries that are overripe. Avoid berries showing signs of mold.

A handful of fresh raspberries over cereal is a delightful way to begin your day. Frozen raspberries are a good substitute for fresh berries. Serve them raw, with a few ice crystals still remaining, or in cooked dishes. We do not recommend canning as a means of preservation because the berries become extremely mushy. Sweet spreads made with raspberries are delectable if you can afford the calories.

Using and Preserving Raspberries:

Fresh Facts:

  • Fresh raspberries are highly perishable. Use fresh berries as soon as possible after picking or purchasing to ensure the best flavor, appearance, and nutrient content. If you do not plan to use the berries immediately, remove them from containers, arrange in a single layer in a shallow container, cover loosely and refrigerate.
  • Use fresh raspberries within one to two days for best quality. Wash berries quickly in cold water just before using. Don’t soak raspberries; lift them gently from water and drain well. Let berries air dry, or gently pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • You can use raspberries of any color interchangeably in recipes. Also, raspberries can be substituted for strawberries in most instances.

Freezer Facts:

  • Select fully ripe, firm, well-colored berries for freezing.
  • Tray-freeze unsweetened raspberries, pack loosely in freezer bags and use as you would fresh berries in sweet spreads, pies, puddings, and sauces.
  • Use frozen raspberries as “ice cubes” to chill lemonade or iced tea on hot summer days.

Dried Facts:

  • Raspberries do not produce a superior dried product because of their high seed content and slow drying rate.
  • The best way to dry raspberries is to puree berries, sieve to remove seeds, and use to make fruit leathers.
  • Before pureeing, give raspberries a 30-second steam treatment to make seed removal easier and ensure a sparkling, red fruit leather.
  • Combine raspberry puree with applesauce and flavor with mint to make a fruit leather guaranteed to please even finicky brown-baggers.
  • Chop fruit leather in a blender to make “raspberry chips” for use on top of cereals, pudding, yogurt, and custard.


Quick N’ Fresh Ideas

  • Make “raspberry spread” by mixing three tablespoons of crushed berries with 1/2 cup of soft margarine, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a sprig of chopped mint. Spread on hot, whole wheat English muffins—enjoy!
  • Raspberry yogurt:
    A refreshing answer to the overly-sweetened commercial product is to simmer 1/2 cup raisins in 1/2 cup of apple juice for five minutes. Cool raisin mixture and puree in blender with 1/2 cup raspberries and 1 cup of yogurt. Stir in another 1/2 cup of berries and 2 more cups yogurt. Makes about 5 cups.
  • This combo is equally delicious made with summer fresh raspberries and peaches, or with frozen raspberries and home-canned peaches: Mix 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons orange juice in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 1/4 cups raspberries and 1 teaspoon grated orange peel. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute and pour over peach halves. chill and serve topped with ice cream if desired.

Cool and Light Raspberry Pie
1 1/4 cups frozen raspberries, lightly sweetened to taste*
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup ice water
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
9-inch pie shell, baked pastry or graham cracker

*A 10-ounce package of commercially frozen raspberries may be substituted—no additional sweetening is necessary.

A day ahead: Thaw berries in the refrigerator, reserving juice. Save 6 raspberries to garnish pie. Chill mixing bowl and beaters.

Soften gelatin powder in 1/2 cup water. Combine 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) sugar with flour in saucepan. Add raspberry juice and softened gelatin. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the raspberries. Cool in refrigerator until thickened, but not set.

In chilled bowl, combine ice water and nonfat dry milk powder. Beat until soft peaks form (3 to 4 minutes). Add remaining tablespoon lemon juice and beat another 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and blend well on low speed. Fold this into raspberry-gelatin mixture. Pour into prepared pie shell and chill until firm.

Makes: 8 servings.

Raspberry Cobbler
1 cup flour (1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

3 cups frozen, unsweetened raspberries*
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons margarine

*Thaw in refrigerator a day ahead.

Stir together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in margarine. Combine buttermilk and egg and add to dry ingredients, stirring just to moisten.

Thoroughly mix sugar and tapioca in medium saucepan. Slowly stir in water and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons margarine and gently fold in raspberries. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole. Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto hot fruit. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, until lightly browned.

Makes 6 servings.


Complete directions for freezing and drying raspberries can be found in:
GH1502 Quality for Keeps: Freezing Fruits
GH1563 Quality for Keeps: How to Dry Foods at Home


To order any of the "From Harvest to Health" publications or for more preservation information, please refer to the University of Missouri Extension, Human Environmental Sciences Publications - Food, Nutrition and Fitness section.



Last update: Thursday, June 18, 2009


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