Growing, picking, preparation and cooking advice for these tasty berries, and recipes for raspberry-surplus salsa.
With today's choice of varieties, you can enjoy fresh raspberries from early summer to fall whether you grow them yourself or buy them by the basketful. Raspberries can easily be grown throughout the country and come in a diversity of delicate hues including red, purple, black and yellow.
The richest flavored are varieties of black and purple raspberries. Black raspberries (sometimes called blackcaps) are firmer than red raspberries and somewhat bolder in taste. Purple raspberries are a hybrid of the red and black types, yielding large and richly flavored berries. Yellow raspberries develop a light pink blush when fully ripe, and are sweeter and more tender than the red types. All colors are highly aromatic and deliciously sweet with floral undertones.
Raspberries are high in fiber and vitamin C, and are a rich source of the anticancer compound ellagic acid. Black raspberries are especially fruitful in antioxidant and cancer preventive agents. Fresh raspberries are highly perishable and are best used within one to two days for peak quality, flavor and nutrient content. Rinse berries with cold water just before using.
Use frozen berries in pies, tarts, cobblers and muffins. Sprinkle over hot cereal, stir into yogurt or make a quick raspberry spread by mixing 2 tablespoons crushed berries with 1/3 cup soft margarine and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook them into puddings and sauces, or make jam during winter after garden chores have died down.
This salsa also does double-duty as a sauce to serve over sweet potatoes, squash or rice.
Let stand for one hour to blend flavors. Depending on use, freeze remaining salsa in 1/2 to 1 cup portions. Makes about 5 cups.