We have been picking raspberries daily now for almost two weeks. The seedy and uniquely flavored black raspberries come on quick and are gone within a month, they're my favorites. While our everbearing red ones produce from mid June all the way into the first part of October on a good year. The hearty fall gold berries are just beginning to show and will also be available well into early autumn. Most of these berries will be frozen and used with kefir to make morning smoothies and the occasional dessert (crisp)...yum. The fresh berries are included in our salads, wild huckleberries are especially good that way.
This is one of the best years we have had for the various raspberries we grow. It helps to take the sting out of the total lack of currants this year, almost all of which were knocked of the bushes in an early spring hail storm. Although we should have some blackberries this year they also felt Mother Nature's harshness this past winter as heavy wet snow took its toll on them, breaking many of the canes. I should have cut them back more as I did with the raspberries.
Is it obvious yet that we love berries? I could live without a lot of things but never berries, be they from the wild or our garden. Nutritionally speaking raspberries and all berries for that matter are high in various vitamins and antioxidants, but don't forget to use the leaves as well. Raspberry leaves contain, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, B1, B3, E and many other beneficial constitutes.
Raspberry leaves have been used by Native American woman and others throughout history as an aid in childbirth. Not only for humans this is supposed to be an excellent herb to use on pregnant animals as well. Apparently it tones the uterus, improves contractions, and helps restore numerous vitamins, minerals, and is a rich source of easily assimilated calcium for the mother and newborn.
We have begun using the leaves in salads and teas for the vitamin C and calcium content. I am a big believer in vitamin C that has been derived fresh from plants. Truly, a little raw garlic, French or wild sorrel (high in C), and a few Oregon grapes eaten every day or so and I can't remember the last time I had a cold or flu. At this point I don't even shy away from others that are sick...watch, now I've surely just jinxed myself.:)
The young leaves are best used fresh but can also be dried for later use. We dice them up and add them to our daily salads or steep a few leaves in boiling water for tea. Like clover, this also makes a really great sun tea (wild huckleberry leaves can also be made into a fine healthful tea).
Peppermint and sage steeping for this morning's tea.
Black raspberries or black caps also grow wild throughout Northern Idaho and my backyard. I am very careful to keep them away from my garden variety as they sometimes carry diseases.
The fall gold berries can be very productive and have a great flavor.
In the below picture I am standing next to the thorny fall gold berries, some will get 9' or taller. Picking them can be a real challange.