By Vicky Babcock
It’s raspberry season! We can thank the Olympians for this flavorful fruit. Greek mythology credits the Olympians with the discovery while foraging for food on Mount Ida—so named for the nursemaid of Zeus. The nymph is said to be responsible for the rich red color—the berries, once white, were stained by her blood when she pricked her finger picking berries for the young god.
To dream of raspberries is a good sign as it means success in all things, happiness in marriage, fidelity in a sweetheart and good news from abroad (Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Lore).
Some European cultures believe that hanging raspberry brambles over windows and doors will offer protection to the house and its occupants. The practice is also used when a death has occurred in the family to prevent any wayward spirits from entering and stealing the soul of the dearly departed.
Raspberry leaves have been used for centuries as an aid to pregnancies. It is said that red raspberry leaves tone the uterus and the muscles of the pelvic region, ease morning sickness, ease the pain of childbirth and aid in the production of breast milk. While I found no scientific evidence to support these claims, red raspberry leaf tea continues to be used in homeopathic medicine today.
Raspberries are high in manganese and vitamin C, providing 62 percent and 51 percent of our RDA per cup respectively, as well as 33 percent of our dietary fiber. Research shows that raspberries are an antioxidant food, containing ellagic acid, which helps to prevent unwanted cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. Research also suggests that raspberries may have the potential to inhibit cancer cell growth and the formation of tumors (Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Lore). A study in the June 2004 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that eating three or more servings of raspberries a day may lower age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) by up to 36 percent. ARMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.
Nutrition aside, these little jewels are a treat to eat, sun-warmed fresh off the bush or cold from the fridge. But don’t wait—raspberries are fragile at best and do not keep well. Try them on cereal or salad. Or try our fresh raspberry pie. To prolong your enjoyment, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet to freeze and then bag them up for the freezer for later consumption.
Fresh Raspberry Pie
For crust: Stir together
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup vegetable oil
2 T. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 T. milk
Stir ingredients together. Pat into pie plate, prick with fork. Bake in pre-heated 450-degree oven about 10 minutes. Watch carefully, as this burns easily. Cool. Prepare filling.
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 cups fresh raspberries
Bring to a boil water, sugar and cornstarch, stir in 1 small box raspberry Jello™. Gently stir in 2 cups fresh raspberries. Spread 2 cups of fresh raspberries into cooled pie crust and pour hot filling over the top. Cool. Top with Cool Whip™ or other whipped topping.
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