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Wednesday, April 27, 2011
RASPBERRY RED RASPBERRY - INFORMATION: MEDICINAL BENEFITS AND USES OF RASPBERRY: EASY RASPBERRY CHEESE CAKE RECIPE
Raspberries are a member of the rose family along with plums, apricots, etc. They are composed of little seed-bearing fruits which make up the whole raspberry which has a hollow centre. The Latin name Rubus means bramble and Idaea is Mount Ida, so presumably these grew wild on Mount Ida on the Greek island of Crete. Mount Ida is said in Greek mythology to have been the birthplace of Zeus. Raspberries are mentioned by Dioscorides in 1 AD in his “Materia Medica”. There are native species of the red raspberry in Europe although it is not actually clear how the wild raspberry got to Britain. It seems that animals in prehistoric times took the seeds, unwittingly of course, from Eastern Asia where it is thought that they originated, across the land bridge on the Bering Straits. Wild raspberries differ in size from the cultivated ones as they are smaller and a little more tart. Raspberries contain vitamins C, and B2 and 3, as well as Omega-3 fatty acid, bioflavonoids quercetin and kaempferol and minerals magnesium, potassium and manganese among others. They also contain ellagic acid which is a common dietary supplement often obtained from the red raspberry because this fruit has potent antioxidant properties. Red Raspberries also contain the anthocyanins cyanidin-3-glucodylrutinoside and cyaniding-3 rutinoside which give the raspberry the rich red colour. These substances have antioxidant properties as well as anti-microbial ones. Raspberries can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and help to prevent Candida albucans infections. In lab animal experiments it has been shown that raspberries’ constituents can help to prevent cancer, notably cancer of the colon. They have 50 % higher antioxidant properties than strawberries, three times those of kiwi fruit and 10 times that of tomatoes according to Dutch research. Their vitamin C content is halved when they are frozen, however so to get the best out of raspberries eat them fresh.
The first written documents we have of raspberries being cultivated in Europe dates back to 1548 and they only began to be cultivated more extensively in the 19th century when loganberries and boysenberries were developed as hybrids from the raspberry and the blackberry. The English herbalist writing in the 16th century, John Gerard, calls them Hindberry (from the Saxon Hindbeer) and Raspis. In the 1700s people were making vinegar, wines, sauces and desserts from these fruit, and the red raspberry was taken to North America by British immigrants. The black raspberry is indigenous to North America, as the yellow Himalayan raspberry is indigenous to Asia.
Raspberry syrup can dissolve tartar on the teeth and raspberries were once used for their dye. They have astringent qualities and are useful in cases of mild diarrhoea. You can make raspberry wine with them and this is a very light, tasty fruit wine. Raspberry vinegar used to be given for chest complaints, and it is easy to make. You need 2 pounds of raspberries to 1 pint of white wine vinegar, and leave for a few weeks, then simply strain out the fruit, or you can leave in some fruit so that the flavour intensifies. It is delicious on green salads.
Raspberry leaves make a wonderful tisane which strengthens the uterus and is useful to prevent miscarriages. It has also been used to ease labour pains and to help with contractions. In fact raspberry leaf tea is useful for women in general as it helps reduce excessive blood flow during menstruation as well as easing cramps. The leaves contain vitamins A, C, D, E and some B-complex ones, as well as minerals and other compounds which are beneficial for our overall health. The tisane can be made with 1 ounce of dried leaves from the red raspberry canes to 1 pint of boiling water. Let the leaves steep for 15 minutes, then strain and drink a cup of the tea. You can do this 3 times a day. This tisane can also be used as a douche for vaginal infections and is considered a general tonic and antiseptic for wounds. It will also reduce the body temperature. You may need to put honey into this tisane to taste. It can help with cystitis, menopausal symptoms, mild diarrhoea, colds and fevers and an infusion of the leaves and the flowers of red clover is said to promote both male and female fertility.
To “blow a raspberry” is to make a farting noise with your mouth and this was commonly done at music halls when people didn’t appreciate an act. That is this fruit’s contribution to the English language.
8 oz wheat biscuits such as digestives, crushed
50 gr melted butter
175 gr of vanilla sugar (see rhubarb) or the same weight of sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract or a vanilla pod
600 gr cream cheese
1 egg yolk
145 ml soured cream, or single cream with a few drops of lemon juice mixed into it
300 gr fresh raspberries, hulled and washed
1 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180°C and grease a loose bottom cake tin or a quiche dish.
Mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and press this mixture into the base and sides of the tin.
Beat the cream cheese with the flour, sugar, vanilla extract if using, eggs, yolk and soured cream until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in half the raspberries and pour the mixture into the biscuit base and bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set but a little wobbly in the centre.
Leave to cool.
Put the rest of the fruit into a pan with the icing sugar and the vanilla pod if using. Heat until juicy and mash with a fork. Then sieve the raspberries onto the top of the cheesecake and decorate with fresh raspberries if you wish to. Alternatively just serve with fresh raspberries. If any of the raspberry sauce is left add this to the individual dishes.
This has Taste and is a Treat.