Raspberries, not just a good looking tasty burst of flavour they have history too.
They are a member of the rose family and are believed to be native to Alaska and Northern China. The berries vary in colour and the fruit can be black, purple, red and white. As you can guess, the darker the fruit the more antioxidants it contains. What you will typically see is the red variety. What I love is that as far back as 4 A.D the leaves were made into teas and various parts of the plant were used for throat gargles, morning sickness remedies, and digestive cures.
Anti-cancer benefits of raspberries have long been attributed to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. In animal studies involving breast, cervical, colon, esophageal, and prostate cancers, raspberry phytonutrients have been shown to play an important role in lowering oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and thereby altering the development or reproduction of cancer cells. But new research in this area has shown that the anti-cancer benefits of raspberries may extend beyond their basic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects. Phytonutrients in raspberries may also be able to change the signals that are sent to potential or existing cancer cells. In the case of existing cancer cells, phytonutrients like ellagitannins in raspberries may be able to decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that encourage the cancer cells to being a cycle of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the case of potentially but not yet cancerous cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to trigger signals that encourage the non-cancerous cells to remain non-cancerous.
Improve Management of Obesity
One of the most fascinating new areas of raspberry research involves the potential for raspberries to improve management of obesity. Although this research is in its early stages, scientists now know that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (also called raspberry ketone). By increasing enzyme activity, oxygen consumption, and heat production in certain types of fat cells, raspberry phytonutrients like rheosmin may be able to decrease risk of obesity as well as risk of fatty liver. In addition to these benefits, rheosmin can decrease activity of a fat-digesting enzyme released by our pancreas called pancreatic lipase. This decrease in enzyme activity may result in less digestion and absorption of fat.
How to buy, store and use these little gems!
Raspberries are very perishable, they should only be purchased one or two days prior to use. Choose berries that are firm, plump, and deep in colour, so please check the whole package and look on the bottom to avoid fruit that might be soft, mushy, or moldy. And where possible, purchase certified organic.
Here are some storage tips for you. When you get the berries home, remove them from their package and pick out any soft or moldy fruit. Place the Unwashed berries back in their original container or in a glass container and store in the fridge. Raspberries can be stored in your fridge for 2 to 3 days due to how perishable the fruit is. Good news is you can also freeze them. Wash them carefully and then pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange them in a single layer on a flat pan or cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the berries to a heavy plastic freezer bag or plastic freezer container that can be sealed and return them to the freezer where they will keep for up to one year.
Some of my favourite ways to enjoy Raspberries:
- One or two at a time from a bowl
- Base for a fruit pie or crumble
- Base for Soufflé
- Pretty and pink smoothie
- Mixed into a brownie mixture and baked
- Smashed and added to cookie dough or muffin batter
- Smoothie bowl – recipe to follow tomorrow so look out for it.