Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Joy of Raspberries

Raspberries are one of those foods that I almost always photograph before eating. I can't help myself; their color, texture, and shape makes them great subjects. This time of year, farmers' markets and farm stands have bright displays of all types of berries, but raspberries are still my favorite.

They are plentiful right now and reasonably priced, so this would be a good time to stock up. One problem with these luscious fruits is that they spoil rapidly. To prevent this, do not wash raspberries until right before you eat them. One tip that I read recently suggests washing them in a dilute solution of vinegar (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water), swishing them around, draining, and then rinsing again. This is supposed to kill lingering mold spores. I haven't tried it yet, but I will.

I enjoy raspberries in three main ways. I eat them plain, doused with a bit of cream, or with yogurt. I make jam, usually combining them with a few blueberries for added oooomph. And I make peach melba, surely one of the most glorious summer desserts of all. My peach melba is a bit changeable. It always has the traditional ingredients: peaches, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream. However, the methodology changes. Sometimes I use freshly sliced raw peaches; at other times, I poach the peaches in light syrup before assembly; this year, I'm going to try grilling peaches and then using them.

Although nothing beats the taste and texture of fresh raspberries, the fruit is also easy to freeze. Just pour dry berries onto a cookie sheet, separate, and then freeze until firm. Once frozen, pour into freezer bags and keep frozen. Once frozen, the fruit is fine for sauce and for jam but a bit mushy for eating plain.

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