Raspberries

raspberry1Raspberries are one of the top antioxidant fruits and are an essential food for optimum health. Raspberries belong to the Rose family of plants along with apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, and even almonds are a distant cousin

Raspberries are rich in vitamins C, A, E, K, and B-complex and minerals such as iron, copper, calcium, and magnesium. They are also high in ellagic acid which is a medicinal compound that helps to prevent cancer as well as benign and malignant growths.

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Raspberries have powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-aging properties making them particularly beneficial for autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, heart disease, scleroderma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, and colon, breast, prostate, stomach, and lung cancer.

They also contain a compound called raspberry ketone that has been shown to increase the metabolism of fat cells which provides benefits for those trying to lose weight. In addition, raspberry ketones have also been shown to improve insulin balance and blood sugar regulation making it a great food for those who have type 2 diabetes.

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Raspberry is a good source of xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute. A teaspoonful of xylitol carries just 9.6 calories as compared to 15 calories of sugar. Xylitol absorbed slowly inside the intestines than simple sugar and does not contribute to high glycemic index.

Raspberries have the ability to cleanse mucus and toxins out of the body and to help balance the endocrine system, reproductive system, and neurological system.

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They are also excellent for cardiovascular, circulatory, and cognitive health. Raspberries are an easily digestible and completely assimilable fruit which ensures ultimate absorption of its healing and nutritive properties.

Fresh raspberries are a wonderful addition to smoothies, salads, or eaten straight as a snack.

Frozen raspberries retain most of their nutrition and are a good substitute when fresh is unavailable. Raspberries can be readily found at your local grocery and health food stores.

A tea made from red raspberry leaves is said to be good for expectant mothers since it helps strengthen the immune system, provides relief from morning sickness, improves blood circulation and strengthens the muscles in the uterus.

Growing

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In spring, set out dormant, bare-root plants four to six weeks before your last frost. Raspberry plants grown in containers should be planted after danger of frost has passed through early summer.

Raspberries are naturally inclined to grow in cooler climates, although the development of adaptable varieties has made it possible for gardeners to grow raspberries in many zones.

They are relatively easy to grow, and with proper care, can bear fruit indefinitely. Don’t limit yourself to the common red raspberry; try growing purple as well!

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There are two types of raspberries, both with their own specific requirements for growing. Summer-bearers bear one crop per season, in summertime. Ever-bearers bear two crops, one in summer and one in fall.

Plant in the early spring (or late winter for warm zones)

Plant far from wild growing berries, otherwise risk the spread of pests and diseases to your garden. Prepare soil with compost or aged manure a couple weeks before planting.

Raspberries love moisture, so try soaking the roots for an hour or two before planting.

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Dig a hole that is roomy enough for the roots to spread. Space plants about 3 feet apart, in rows 8 feet apart. After planting, cut back canes, leaving 8 to 10 inches.

Depending on the variety you plant, you may need to fashion a support. A trellis or a fence are good options.

If you chose to use one of these, establish them at or before time of planting so the plants are not disturbed when maturing.

Mulching is important throughout the season to conserve moisture and suffocate weeds. Keep a thick layer of mulch surrounding plants at all times. Water one inch per week.

The roots send up an abundant amount of shoots, called canes. Keep order by pruning away the majority of them so that the survivors can produce lots of berries.

Raspberries are one of the few fruits that are hardly bothered by pests and diseases. (Black raspberries are most susceptible to this type of damage than red or purple.)

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In early summer, berries will ripen over a time of about 2 weeks. You will need to pick berries every couple of days. Try to harvest berries on a sunny day when they are dry.

Don’t tug too hard on your raspberries when picking. A ripe raspberry will leave the vine willingly. (Once picked from the plant, raspberries will not continue to ripen)

Raspberries can be kept refrigerated for about 5 days. If the fruit is to be made into preserves, it should be done straight off the plant.

Raspberries can be frozen. Make a single layer of berries on a cookie sheet. When frozen, place into airtight bags.

For more reading:

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http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/red_raspberry_facts.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=39

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283018.php

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/raspberry.html

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