LYNDEN, Wash., July 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Red, ripe and bursting with sweetly tart flavor, nothing says summer like raspberries, and for good reason - it's raspberry harvest time. While growing and nurturing this delicate fruit is a 12-month operation, the intense summer harvest season lasts only a few weeks. The best way to enjoy this summer sensation year-round is to head to the freezer aisle.
"Frozen raspberries are picked at their peak ripeness and are frozen within hours of harvest, often on the same farm as they were grown," says Tom Krugman, Executive Director of the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC). "Only the highest quality raspberries are selected for freezing, and the gentle preserving process maintains the fruit's integrity and flavor. Frozen raspberries can also be economical, especially where spoilage is concerned."
Freezing raspberries within hours after harvesting locks in their peak flavor and nutrition. Raspberries are nutritional powerhouses, boasting the most fiber and the lowest natural sugar content compared to other berries. One cup of frozen red raspberries has only 80 calories, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and provides nine grams of fiber. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, a powerful compound that may play a role in reducing inflammation associated with environmental stresses and chronic disease.
"The phytonutrients in red raspberries - including anthocyanins, procyanidins, flavonols and ellagic acid - may reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and protect against free-radical-induced cell damage, all of which are implicated in chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and declines in cognitive function," says Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., Director of Nutrition and Health Promoting Foods platform leader at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology and a Scientific Advisor to the NPRC.
Increase Your 'Razzipe' Repertoire
The sweet and tart flavors of raspberries make them very versatile from a culinary standpoint, pairing well with fruits such as lemon, key lime, apricot, peach, and plum; spices and herbs such as mint, ginger, cinnamon, chili, or thyme; dairy and cheeses such as goat cheese, ricotta, yogurt or custard; and can bring out the best in chocolate or vanilla flavors. A survey conducted among 758 grocery shoppers on behalf of the NPRC, found the most popular uses for frozen raspberries are smoothies, baked goods, or as toppings for desserts like cheesecake, and ice cream. Of the many items made with raspberries that consumers would like to see on restaurant menus, salads, dessert items and ice cream top the list.
The NPRC's website, www.redrazz.org has a host of raspberry recipes from appetizers and entrees, to salads and sauces. Try this refreshing summer sipper made with frozen raspberries with a kick of fresh ginger:
Raspberry Ginger Sweet Tart
Makes two, 6 oz servings
1 Cup Frozen Raspberries, partially thawed (reserve 2 frozen raspberries for garnish)
1 Apple, Granny Smith, cored and quartered
1 Cup Grapes, green, seedless, stem removed, frozen
1 Cup Cucumber, peeled and quartered
1 Inch Piece (approx.) Ginger, fresh, peeled
2 Tablespoons Lemon, fresh juice
1/2 Cup Water, sparkling or still, chilled
Assemble juicer for processing. Remove frozen raspberries from freezer and allow to partially thaw for 10-15 minutes. Raspberries can be processed from frozen. Add all ingredients through the juicer except lemon juice and water. Stir lemon juice and water into juice to reach 12 fluid ounces. Stir or shake the juice and pour into two glasses. Cover and refrigerate juice if not consumed immediately. Top with one frozen raspberry per serving.
Nutrition (per 6 oz serving): 170 calories, 0 g fat, 41 g carbohydrate, 29 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 2 g protein, 0 mg sodium
Keeping your freezer stocked with frozen red raspberries is an easy, affordable, and delicious way to enjoy a slice of summer year-round.
About the National Processed Raspberry Council
Created in 2013, the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC) represents the processed raspberry industry and is supported by assessments from both domestic producers and importers. The NPRC's mission is to invest in research on the health and wellness benefits of raspberry consumption and communicate the advantages of raspberries to consumers, food manufacturers and foodservice decision makers in order to build demand and secure the long-term viability of the industry. The NPRC is responsible for marketing processed raspberries in the U.S. and is committed to promoting the growth of the entire industry. Processed raspberries are frozen at the peak of ripeness to lock in flavor and nutrition. Visit redrazz.org for more information, and follow us on our social media channels: https://twitter.com/red_razz, https://www.facebook.com/redrazz, https://instagram.com/red_raspberries, and https://www.pinterest.com/razzrecipes.
Meghan Flynn, MS, RDN
SOURCE National Processed Raspberry Council