Raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and phytochemicals, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. They contain more fibre than any other fresh fruit; their seeds contain vitamin E.
Ideal growing conditions
Raspberries are robust plants that tolerate a wide range of climates and soil, however, they prefer soil that is neutral or slightly acidic, rich in compost, and that drains well. They do not like to get their feet wet.
Raspberries are extremely prolific. They produce underground runners that will shoot up new plants all around your original plants (which is why it is important to carefully plan their location). In the first year, the plants will grow vegetation only; in the second year they produce fruit on canes that may reach four feet in height.
Do not plant them in areas in which potatoes, tomatoes, or peppers recently grew. You can purchase raspberry plants as potted plants, or dormant, bare-root plants. Better yet, get some runners from a friend. Plant bare-root transplants in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Potted transplants and runners can go in any time after all threat of frost has passed.
In the spring, weed and mulch your plants. In the fall, cut back the dry, dead canes. They’re easy to distinguish from new green canes.
You may wish to train your plants to grow on trellises or other forms of support to make it easier for you to pick the berries when they are ripe. They also do well in raised beds, and some varieties can be potted.
Raspberries may be red, yellow, or black.
Summer-bearing raspberries produce fruit in the summer, on two year old canes. You should remove canes that are three or more years old.
Everbearing or primocane-fruiting raspberries produce fruit in the spring, on two year old canes. In the fall, they produce berries on the tips of the new canes that grew over the summer.
Harvesting, using, and preserving
Raspberries are easy to pick; if the fruit does not come off easily, it’s not ready. They will not continue to ripen after they have been picked.
Raspberries spoil easily, so don’t pick them if it is wet or too hot. Use them immediately, or put them in the fridge or freezer. They are best when eaten right away.
Raspberries can be used in salads, desserts, and all manner of preserves. Throw them in a freezer bag and enjoy them in the winter in fruit crisps, smoothies, fruit salads, and more!
- Each raspberry is made up 100-120 tiny fruits called drupelets, which are clustered around the core. Each drupelet contains one seed.
- When you pick a raspberry, the stem of the raspberry remains with the plant. When you pick a blackberry, the core comes away from the plant (it stays in the centre of the berry). This is an easy way to distinguish a black raspberry from a blackberry.
- Raspberries have been used to create new types of berries. For example, a theloganberry is a cross between raspberries and a blackberries, and a boysenberry is a mix of red raspberries, blackberries, and loganberries.