This week I had the pleasure of creating a food demonstration to share with our customers who come to visit us on SAMM, the Seacoast Area Mobile Market. This entails using fresh local food products to complete a simple recipe. I chose to have my demonstration centered around raspberries. With their emergence last week onto SAMM’s shelves, I thought it would be a perfect choice. I chose to make a Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade, and a Raspberry vinaigrette. I served the Lemonade in small cups with whole raspberries and mint sprigs to garnish, and the vinaigrette over greens, and carrots and cucumbers from Wake Robin Farm. The more popular of the two samples was the raspberry lemonade. Demonstrations like these are important so we can share different simple ways to enjoy in-season local foods.
Red raspberries, Rubus idaeus, grow wild all over the U.S. and Canada. Raspberries are very high in fiber, the leaves as well as the fruit are very high in vitamin C, a very delicate vitamin that can be easily destroyed by heat, so it is best consumed raw. Raspberries of all colors are rich in cancer preventative compounds known as anthocyanins. You can find wild raspberries growing on the edges of forests in-between trees and grass. The red raspberry plant can be identified by the silvery sheen of the underside of its leaves.The leaves of raspberries have many medicinal benefits. Raspberry leaf is used in a medicinal setting primarily as a tea. It has an astringent or drying quality that is indicative of its ability to tone tissue. It has historically been used to aid women during childbirth, and to tone the uterus during the last month of pregnancy. Raspberry leaf tea is also used as a fo
lk remedy for kidney stones. Fruit syrup of raspberry can be used as a gargle for sore tonsils.
If you don’t have time to go searching in the wild for red raspberries, you can try growing them in your own backyard! The Old Farmers Almanac recommends planting raspberries as transplants in the spring as soon as the ground can be tilled, and there is no longer a risk of frost. Raspberries like to grow in rich soil in full sun, they also prefer a spot that is not partic
ularly windy. Young raspberry plants require one inch of water per week. Once your plant is matured and producing fruit, it will need to be pruned each year after harvest. Raspberries are perennial plants but the individual fruit producing branches of each bush have a two year life cycle. The first year they grow vegetatively and in the second they produce fruit. The fruit producing branches only produce fruit once, in their second year of life, so at the end of each harvest season each fruit producing branch needs to be trimmed to make way for the new fruit producing branches.
Once you are finally ready to reap the rewards of your labor, you can enjoy them many different ways, perhaps through one of the recipes from my demonstration that I’ve included below! For those of us who don’t want to wait, it is currently raspberry season and you can find them at your local farmers markets and farms! If you intend to get them at a farmers market be sure to get there early before they sell out! Fruit always goes fast. Raspberries can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or if you have a large bounty you can freeze them in a single layer on a baking tray and then throw them in a bag to preve
nt clumping. You can pull them out in the winter to throw in scones, muffins, other baked goods or smoothies just to mention a few things!
Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade
12 oz fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh lemon juice , chilled
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup honey1 liter (33.8 oz) sparkling water or club soda, chilled
Fresh mint and ice , for serving
1. Place raspberries in a food processor and pulse until well pureed. Force raspberry puree through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
2. In a large pitcher (if you don’t have one large enough you may need two) whisk together water and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Pour in honey and mix until blended. Stir in raspberry mixture and lemon juice then pour in club soda and stir once. Serve with ice and fresh mint.
Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette
6 ounces fresh raspberries, washed1 tablespoon Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
honey to taste (optional)
1. Push berries through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, first with fork (to mash) and then with the back of
a spoon to push all the fruit through. If a few seeds squeeze through it’s no big deal. This should yield about 1/2 cup of raspberry puree.
2. Using a fork or a small whisk, whisk in Pompeian Red Wine, olive oil, and salt, pepper and honey if desired. Taste and season again as needed. Store in fridge until ready to use or for up to one week. The oil may harden a bit in the fridge, so plan to leave it out on the counter for about 30 minutes prior to use. Or you may gently warm it in the microwave (10 seconds should suffice).
Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plans and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America, Steven Foster and James A. Duke
Body into Balance an Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care, Maria Noel Groves