Language is a strange thing. How did the elegantly sweet raspberry ever become the symbol of derision? The now globally adopted and still infamous Bronx cheer (which is not a cheer and originated in 1890 Cockney London as the raspberry) should be classified as a politically incorrect botanical slur. Likewise the Golden Raspberry Awards for the worst films should be required to re-name themselves the Golden Garlic Awards. At least garlic really does have a strong odor. While we’re at it, could someone please tell me what’s with the silent “P”? Must we be psychic to correctly pronounce the berry is in the cupboard? Or shall we simply organize a coup and come up with a pseudonym?
This much maligned fruit is a member of the regal rose family and deserving of admiration and respect. It has been providing human nourishment since Paleolithic cave dwellers gathered and munched on the wild fruit. According to Greek mythology, the berry was white until Zeus’ nursemaid, Ida, pricked her fingers on the thorny bramble and her blood tinted them red forever after. In fact, its Latin name is Rubus Idaeus or Bramble Bush of Ida. It is thought to have originated in the foothills surrounding Troy and must surely have been enjoyed by that rascal, Ulysses. Another myth, a bit more modern, is that grey fox loved raspberries so much and ate so many that he and his prodigy became red foxes. The foxes also loved the thorny brambles for its hound-foiling abilities.
Today there are more than 200 varieties of raspberries. Luther Burbank, pioneer in the field of agricultural science, a horticulturalist and botanist, is responsible for many of the hybrids now grown in the U.S. Dried raspberry leaves contain tannins that are soothing to burns. The leaves, blossoms and fruit of raspberries have been used for centuries to make digestive teas to relieve menstrual cramps. The bubble-headed fruit contains high concentrations of antioxidants that stave off aging; and high levels of cyaniding and pelagonidin glycosides to prevent cancer. When you consider that raspberries contain few calories, are sweet, and healthy, they begin to sound like a miracle food. Today’s recipe is: Raspberry Goat Cheese Pudding . Take a look at the market website for other raspberry recipes, or just rinse them off and sit yourself down with a bowl.