Raspberry facts and picking tips

This month's notes: February 2016: Strawberries and blueberries each have a very brief season; don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green!  Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

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Raspberry Facts and Picking Tips

There are usually two crops of raspberries: June bearing, and Fall (or everbearing). In the U.S., the first crop of raspberries typically peaks during June in the South, and in July in the North.

The Fall crop starts in late July and late August respectively and continues till frost. Crops may be ready at various times of the month depending on which part of the state you are located. In order to produce good local Raspberries, producers depend a spring and summer that are not too hot and dry, nor too wet.  Raspberries can be finicky and susceptible to fungus if it's too wet



Raspberry Facts and Tips

  • Raspberries come in many colors besides red: there are also black, purple and gold raspberries.
  • Raspberries are a very healthy food; they are high Vitamin C and naturally have no fat, cholesterol or sodium. They are also a good source of iron and folate (which is used especially in treatment of low red blood cells or anemia).  Raspberries contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic (cancer-preventing) compound. Raspberries have been shown to lower high blood cholesterol levels and slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream of diabetics.
  • Raspberries are high in fiber. Half to one pound of raspberry fruit per day can provide twenty to thirty grams of fiber which is adequate for an adult daily nutrition requirement.
  • Select plump, firm, fully red berries (or yellow or purple if that is the color of the variety). Unripe berries will not ripen once picked. When ripe, most varieties achieve a darker blush at peak sugar and they separate easily form the core which remains attached to the plant. If you must pull hard to remove the berry or it remains attached to its core, it is not ripe!
  • Raspberries 1 pint = 2 cups = 500 ml  and about 3/4 lb (about 1/3 kg) and is good for about 2 to 4 servings.
  • 1 cup of raspberries is about 123 grams,
  • The USDA says 1 cup is about 64 calories!
  •  Raspberries are a type of bramble, like blackberries and are also known as "Cane berries" 
  • Raspberries are different from blackberries in that the fruit has a hollow core that remains on the plant when you pick the raspberry.
  • Raspberries are so expensive in the grocery store because, since they are so soft, they bruise easily, spoil quickly and do not ship well.  It's much better to pick your own!
  • 2 pints (4 cups) of raspberries are needed for a 9" pie
  • 1 - 1ΒΌ cups = 10 oz. package frozen berries
  • 1 cup of raspberries is only 61 calories and high in dietary fiber
  • Raspberries are high in potassium, vitamin A and calcium
  • Raspberries contain about 50% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
  • U-pick Raspberry farms typically sell berries by the pound or pint. A pint equals 3/4 pounds of fresh berries.
  • Do the math and be careful not to over-purchase as Raspberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • You can easily freeze berries that you cannot use right away - just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible.  Those vacuum food sealers REALLY do a good job of this! The berries will keep for many months frozen without air. See my How to freeze berries page

Before you leave to go to the farm:

  1. Always call before you go to the farm - Raspberries are affected by weather (especially rain and cooler temperatures) more than most crops. And when they are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
  2. Leave early.  On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
  3. Most growers furnish picking containers designed for Raspberries, but they may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to bring containers.
    If you use your own containers, remember that heaping Raspberries more than 3 inches deep will smush the lower berries. Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large pots make good containers. I like the Glad storage containers like the one at right.
  4. Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it has been rainy.

Tips on How to Pick Raspberries

  1. Gently grasp the berry with your fingers and thumb, and
  2. tug gently. 
  3. If it is ripe, it will easily come off in your hand, leaving the center part attached to the stem.
  4. Repeat these operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries.
  5. Carefully place - don't throw - the fruit into your containers. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
  6. Don't overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.

General Picking Tips

Whether you pick Raspberries from your garden or at a Pick-Your-Own farm, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be careful that your feet and knees do not damage plants or fruit in or along the edge of the row.
  2. Pick only the berries that are fully red. Part the leaves with your hands to look for hidden berries ready for harvest.
  3. The plants don't have thorns, but they do have little tiny stickers, like velcro. Those with tender skin will find that annoying or painful, so it's best to just touc the berries!  Thankful, the berries stand out from the rest of the plant, so it's not hard to do!
  4. Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunshine any longer than necessary. It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking. Raspberries may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for two or three days, depending upon the initial quality of the berry. After a few days in storage, however, the fruit loses its bright color and fresh flavor and tends to shrivel.

When you get home

  1. DON'T wash the berries until you are ready to use them.  Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
  2. Raspberries are more perishable than blueberries or strawberries, so make a point of refrigerating them as immediately as possible after purchase. Temperatures between 34 F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze raspberries! (Fresh raspberries are highly prone to freeze damage).
  3. Even under ideal conditions raspberries will only keep for 1 - 2 days in a refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, consume them as soon as possible after purchase.
  4. Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries
  5. Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the caps (green tops) off the others and freeze them up! See my How to freeze berries page. (Unless you're going to make jam right away)
  6. Now, get ready to make Raspberry jam - It is VERY easy - especially with our free Raspberry jam instructions - illustrated and easy.

Questions and Answers and other tips!

I want to make raspberry juice and seedless raspberry jam. Do you know how I could extract the juice, getting rid of the seeds?

Ah, that is a trick. The darn little seeds are large enough to stick in your teeth and be annoying, but small enough to pass through a Foley Food mill (unlike blackberry seeds).

The easiest method is to gently heat mushed up raspberries until they thin out and the seeds separate. Then, while still hot, you can pour the raspberries through cheesecloth or a fine sieve and trap the seeds, while allowing the delightful raspberry juice (and some of the pulp) to pass!

Of course, most electric juicers have screens that are fine enough to trap the seeds, and some of the mechanical strainers like the Villaware, Roma, Ox brands include a fine screen, also.

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Picking Tips

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]









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