Raspberries have their origins in eastern Europe and north Asia; the Romans named them Idaeus as they were believed to have been discovered by the Greeks in the region of Mount Ida hence the Roman name Idaeus. They are a disease resistant tenacious bush that grows to around 2m in height; they flourish in temperate climates. They have a woody lower structure and the roots are edible when tender and thoroughly boiled; the young new growth may be eaten in early spring, rather like asparagus.
The raspberry berry is made up of approximately 75-100 spherical drupelets; the drupelets are formed to form a conical shape with a central cavity, each berry weighs approximately 2-4g. The berry is usually various shades of red, but hybrids may range from white to black in colour, even purple, orange or yellow. Around 400,000 tonnes of raspberries are produced each year globally; the major producers are; Chile, Germany, Poland and the United States. The most popular commercial cultivar (variety) is a hybrid of the American raspberry and European variety.
Raspberries are a rich source of health promoting natural compounds, trace elements and minerals, including phenolic flavonoids, ellagic acid, quercetin, cyaniding and salicylic acid
to name but a few and antioxidant compounds which play a significant role against free radicals and cancers, aging, neurodegenerative disorders and inflammation.
1.25kg of mixed summer berries - Blackberries, Redcurrants and Raspberries (Or berries of your choice)
175g castor sugar
7 medium thickness slices of day old white bread
To bring out the juice of the fruit wash and gently dry on paper towel. Put the sugar and 3 tablespoons water into a large pot. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves stirring a few times (may take some time to dissolve be patient and keep the heat low). Bring to the boil for 1 minute then tip in the fruit. Cook for 3 minutes over a low heat, stirring 2-3 times until the fruit is softened but still maintaining its shape and surrounded by the dark red juice. Sieve the fruit and juice over a bowl.
Line a 1.25 litre basin with cling film, overlap two pieces of the cling wrap in the middle of the bowl and let the edges overhang.
Cut off the crusts, cut 4 pieces in half (if you cut on a slight angle it will fit in better) and cut 2 pieces into 4 triangles each and leave one piece whole. Dip the whole piece into the juice to coat it and push into the bottom of the basin. Then take your half pieces and one at a time press them around the basins side and then spoon in your softened berries. Dip the triangle pieces in the juice and place on top trim off any overhanging pieces with scissors and keep any left over juice for later. Bring your cling film over the top and loosely seal. Place a small plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy.
Chill overnight or for at least 6 hours. To serve open up cling film and put your serving plate upside down on top of your bowl and flip it over, and serve with the left over juice some extra
berries and cream.
Raspberry & White Chocolate Square
1⁄2 cup castor sugar
1 1⁄2 cups plain flour sifted
360g white chocolate chopped
2 eggs lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts
(To toast nuts spread onto oven tray and back at 180 ̊c for 5-10
minutes, cool and chop)
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
Couple of drops of vanilla essence
Icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 180C and lightly grease and line 20cm square baking tin, extend paper over edges of pan. Combine butter and half the chocolate in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until melted.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in flour, sugar, eggs, macadamias and remaining chocolate until combined.
Fold through the raspberries and spoon into baking tin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool in tin before cutting into squares. Dust with icing sugar and store in airtight container.