July 3, 2015
Happy 4th of July Weekend and Happy Harvesting
Here at my farm, it's just about time to start harvesting those small, fragrant, and refreshingly sweet raspberries - one of the most popular berries in the United States.
I grow red, black and golden raspberries, and the right time for picking is early summer when the fruits are vivid in color, and ready to fall off their stems. Although they are best eaten raw, raspberries are used in a variety of ways - as ingredients in jams and jellies, pies and tarts, or juices and herbal teas.
What are you making with your berries this holiday? Please let me know in the comments. And, please have a very safe and joyful Independence Day weekend.
1 The raspberry harvest is plentiful this year - look at how full the bushes are! I grow red, black and golden raspberries at my farm.
2 Botanically, the raspberry is a shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family, in the genus Rubus.
3 There are more than 200-species of raspberries. In the United States, about 90-percent of all raspberries sold come from the states of Washington, California and Oregon.
4 The raspberry is made up of small "drupe" fruits which are arranged in a circular fashion around a hollow central cavity. Each drupelet features a juicy pulp with a single seed.
5 One plant can produce several hundred berries per season.
6 Raspberry varieties which produce fruit only in the summer are called "summer-bearing" while those that produce fruit in the summer as well as in the fall are called "ever-bearing".
7 Most raspberry plants that grow taller and yield more fruit need to be properly supported on wire trellises. I use these granite posts at the ends of each row, and stretch strong gauge wire in between them.
8 'Bristol' black raspberries are delicious. This all-purpose fruit is firm, sweet and full of flavor. It tastes great eaten fresh off the stem or made into preserves.
9 This black raspberry plant is a high producing early variety whose upright growth makes it easy for picking.
10 Raspberries are low in calories and fats, but very high in dietary fiber and antioxidants.
11 Fresh raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin-C. 100-grams of berries provides nearly 50-percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin-C. Consuming adequate amounts supports the immune system and helps fight infections.
12 Raspberries contain vitamins A and E, and are also rich in minerals, such as potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium.
13 Summer-bearing raspberry bushes produce one crop each season. The fruits typically start ripening in July with a crop that lasts about one month.
14 Once raspberries are picked, they stop ripening, so under-ripe berries that are harvested will never mature to the maximum sweetness. Only ripe raspberries will come right off the stem.
15 Ripe raspberries are deeply colored, whether they are red, golden or black. The entire berry should be consistently colored also, and full in shape before picking.
16 The berries will ripen gradually throughout the season, so it's important to check the crop every few days. Overripe berries will be mushy when harvested.
17 The taste of raspberries varies by cultivar, and ranges from sweet to acidic. They are great for use in pies and tarts, and other desserts. They can also be used in cereals, ice-creams, juices and herbal teas.
18 To store raspberries, keep them uncovered in the refrigerator in a single layer on a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet. They should last for two to three days. Don't rinse raspberries until shortly before eating or using.