Livings in a small town in the Brookfield I have fond memories of picking berries in the summer in our backyards and along country road. In the fall we always picked apples at the local Brookfield Orchards and, of course, would stop for some penny candy and play on the playground that has been there for over 40 years.
It wasn’t until this fall I realized that it is also time to harvest the fall crop of raspberries. Raspberries have been around for thousands of years and have many health and nutritional benefits. I tend to avoid buying them at the local stores as they can be pricey and spoil quickly.
My kids and I took a trip to the local Overlook Farms in Brookfield where they have a pick your own patch. These berries are some of the most fun to pick, besides the little prickers on their shrubs.
On our trip we ran into a few of the farm raised chickens and passed vegetable gardens. In mid-October, the berries are still deliciously sweet, and come at a lower cost since the crop is going to pass soon with the impending night’s frost. Their price points are usually amazing value considering what raspberries will sell for per pint in the local stores and my kids ate a few good handfuls before leaving the farm!
Raspberries have a high nutritional profile and are dense in dietary fiber: 1 cup has 8 grams of fiber (32% of the recommended daily intake), almost 56% of the daily intake in Vitamin C, are low in calories (64) and fat. They are and rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and E which play a dynamic role in fighting inflammation, neuro- degenerative diseases, and fight against cancer-promoting compounds in the blood.
Raspberries also contain xylitol, which is a low-calorie sugar substitute extracted from the berries; this sugar substitute is absorbed into the bloodstream of the intestines slower than table sugar. They also contain a respective vitamin B and K profile along with other important minerals that are vital to healthy body functions such as potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium.
Raspberries are completely versatile in the diet and in the kitchen! A few ideas to try would include just eating a few as quick, healthy snack, topping on yogurt with some rolled oats, added to a greens salad or French toast, baked into a whole grain muffin, or, if you have the time, create a homemade jam. You can easily freeze them to use later in smoothies or even create your own raspberry sorbet!
If you are adventurous and want to please your palate you can create a mouthwatering glaze to try over your favorite salmon, chicken or pork dish. You can reduce raspberries with white balsamic or lemon juice and fresh ginger to create a deep red sweet glaze, you could even top on some ice cream for a little treat. You won’t be berry disappointed.
Kirsten McEvoy RDN, LDN, is the clinical nutrition manager at Harrington HealthCare System.