If you are lucky enough to have a garden full of raspberries right now you likely don’t need any advice about what to do with these fragile, yet delicious dark red fruits. In fact, you’re probably popping a few in your mouth right now, and wouldn’t I like to be your friend? If you are like me, however, and have to love raspberries from afar (or for a very hefty price at the store) most of the year, this is your season. Raspberries are at their peak right now, prices for these fruits are reasonable, and the product is terrific. And, almost nothing compares to raspberries when it comes to welcoming the summer that is nearly here. Come and cook with us!
Raspberries deserve a place of honor on the healthy-foods-to-eat-list for many reasons, but the 17 grams of fiber they deliver per cup is top of the list. In fact, they deliver the highest fiber content for a fruit. They are also a great source of antioxidants, and contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K. When buying your raspberries, keep in mind that they are one of the fruits on the Environmental Working Group’s list of twelve most consistently contaminated fruits and vegetables. To avoid all those extra pesticides and agricultural chemicals, it’s worth it to reach for the organic packages, even if they cost a little more.
Raspberries are great as an accompaniment to a green salad; toss a few berries onto a bowl of arugula and dress with lemon and olive oil, or balsamic vinegar. They make a fantastic Fruit Chutney when cooked along with other summer fruits, onions, vinegar, and a little spice, and can be served over a sweet potato or roasted squash. For breakfast it’s easy to make a refreshing berry salad, with cut up strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Or, if you prefer a warm fruit breakfast, adapt our “Hot Love” recipe (below), by adding additional fruit to your raspberries, such as peaches or strawberries. If you find a great supply of freshly picked raspberries at the farmers market, buy a bunch and freeze them for use when the season has passed. I love to throw them in the blender with some bananas, ice, and a dash of vanilla and cinnamon for a cooling summer treat (a dash of honey for sweetening is optional). That’s if you don’t eat them all first! The texture, taste and color of this fruit is so intense that each bite is a sensory sensation. Come and cook with us!
Fruit Chutney (adapted from Simply Organic)
Fruit chutney is normally served over meats but can easily be used as a dressing for vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash or if you are feeling adventurous, some broccoli. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It never lasts this long in my house.
2 cups sliced apricots
2 cups raspberries
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cinnamons ticks
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes (optional)
– In a large saucepan, combine the apricots, raspberries, onion, vinegar, cinnamon sticks, ginger, salt and red-pepper flakes, if using.
– Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
– Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, or until thickened.
– Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature discarding the cinnamon sticks.
– Transfer chutney to glass jars and refrigerate.
Hot Love Raspberry Dessert
This recipe is so easy it’s hard to believe how wonderful it tastes for so little effort. Normally it is served with raspberries alone, but if you add other fruits to the mix you can make a thick, warmed fruit breakfast.
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups of strawberries, blueberries, or very ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
– Mix fruits together and heat in a sauce pan, while stirring for 5 to 8 minutes.
– Serve warm over a bowl of cut pineapple.
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