Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Vividly pink, exquisitely perfumed and very delicate, fresh raspberries are a real summertime treat.
Raspberries never fail to please when served with just a dusting of icing sugar and a lick of cream. A fresh raspberry sauce, made by pushing raspberries through a sieve and stirring in some sifted icing sugar, makes a wonderful addition to vanilla ice cream, apple juice, champagne, yoghurt, strawberries, cocktails, chocolate mousse, toast...
Raspberries are high in fibre, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. They also contain phytochemicals including beta-carotene (helps fight against heart disease) and ellagic acid (linked with reducing the risk of cancer).
Raspberries should be plump and dry, with a good shape and uniform colour. Avoid berries with their hulls intact as they will be under-ripe and tart.
Due to their hollow core raspberries are fragile and so should be handled with care. They are also highly perishable; remove any mushy raspberries before refrigerating and eat within a day or two. They do freeze very well: spread a single layer on a tray and freeze until solid before transferring to single portion freezer bags to be enjoyed over the winter.
Raspberries are prone to becoming damaged and mis-shapen if wet. If you're going to be serving raspberries whole your best bet is to not wash them.
On July 11th each year, the tiny village of Concèze in France holds a Fête de la Framboise (Raspberry Festival). More than 6,000 people go along to meet producers, sample dishes such as peach melba or duck cooked in raspberry vinegar, and witness the creation of a giant raspberry tart.