There are typically two times of the year that you can go pick red raspberries (Rubus idaeus). There is early in the summer when the wild red raspberries are ready and then there is the fall harvest at your local berry farm. We’ve had a lot of rain here in Ohio and cool weather, so I’ve been trying to keep an eye out for when it is just right to go forage for my raspberry crop.
Thoreau tells us in his book, Wild Fruits, that the red raspberry begins to ripen on June 25 and continues through the middle of July. He remarks that there is an abundance when there is a lot of rain. Of course, Thoreau was writing in New England, so our picking time would be different here in Ohio. That said, there has been a lot of rain and I will expect a large harvest if I can beat the birds to it.
Benefits of Raspberries
Red Raspberry Fruit
The fruit of the red raspberry is delicious, but did you know it has a lot more to offer, both in terms of its fruit and its leaves?
Its fruit is cooling and somewhat of a diuretic (having the ability to increase water flow from the kidneys). The leaves are what is best known in the world of herbal health. Most likely, if you’ve heard of using this leaf, you know about its abilities in the female reproductive system.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Did you know it’s a nutritional powerhouse?
Red raspberry leaf is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and vitamins A, B3, and C. This nutritional profile makes it a specific for supporting the endocrine system of either men or women. Just like other members of the rose family of plants, red raspberry leaf is high in tannins which also makes it good for situations that call for a bit of astringency. A tincture of leaves is a classic aid for loose bowels. Personally, I like to use it as a tea for a nightly face wash to tighten my pores.
With all the useful medicinal ways to use raspberry leaf, we can forget that the plant is just plain delicious! In that spirit, I’m sharing with you a recipe that uses both the fruit and the leaf. Get out there and look for some fresh red raspberries – the leaves can be picked at any time so why not add a few to your basket while you’re at it?
Raspberry Risotto Recipe
- 1 cup wild raspberries
- 6 ½ cups broth (chicken, veggie, or beef – learn to make it here)
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (find unrefined EVOO here)
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper powder (find it here)
- 3 pressed garlic cloves
- zest of one small lemon
- 1 ¾ cups arborio rice (find organic arborio rice here)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
- minced raspberry leaves for garnish
1. In a large frying pan with sides, saute the onion in the olive oil until clear.
2. Add the rice and stir for a couple minutes to toast it.
3. Pour in the wine and stir until it begins to evaporate.
4. Add your broth, the chipotle powder, garlic cloves, and lemon zest. Stir until the rice becomes tender (about 15 minutes).
5. Add the raspberries and stir until warm, about 5 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.
7. Season to taste and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
8. Add the garnish and serve.