Raspberries are plant species from the rose family, typically characterised by a red colour of berries. Their shrubs grow up to 2,5 meters tall, and they have extensive underground roots. Raspberry shoots are elongated and covered with small thorns, and they are arched and bend towards ground, like in the case of blackberries. White flowers formed in clusters bloom between May and August. Raspberry is a perennial plant, eagerly cultivated because of the taste and pro-health properties of its fruits. As early as in the Middle Ages, it was grown as a fruiting shrub. Throughout the centuries, many different cultivars of this plant have been created.
Cultivation of raspberries
In nature, raspberries can be seen in forests, among thickset, or even on the mountain slopes - below 2000 meters above the sea level. However, raspberries have high demands when it comes to soil. They should also grow in places which are not exposed to much sunlight. On the other hand, raspberry shrubs are extremely resistant to frost. In wild they grow on the territory of Asia and in almost whole Europe, apart from Portugal and Island. In Poland they can be met on the whole territory of the country. Our country is also the biggest producer of raspberries in the world with annual yield reaching 130 thousand tons. It is estimated that every fifth fruit of this plant comes from Poland.
Many different cultivars of raspberries are grown. Usually they are cross-species hybrids. Numerous cultivars produce fruit on two year old shoots. However recently, cultivars which produce fruit on one year old shoots, are also used.
These are popular names among the interesting raspberry cultivars:
- Beskid - characterised by strong growth, bears fruit on two year old shoots;
- Polana - bears fruit on current year and two year old shoots;
- Polka - recommended for cultivation aimed at autumnal harvest;
- Poranna Rosa - has yellow or lightly orange berries.
Raspberries in kitchen
Raspberries make a simple and, at the same time, tasty snack. They can be both used as an addition to meats, but also to the most sophisticated desserts. In each case they guarantee unique and extremely distinctive taste. Raspberry juice is very popular in Poland, where it is known in a form of a thick syrup. It also can be used both in winter - as a sweetener for tea, and in summer - as a basis for refreshing drinks. After summer season, their unusual taste can be captured in a form of delicious jams and preserves.
Other uses for raspberries
Apart from culinary properties, raspberries also have many therapeutic uses. This is because, for centuries they have been considered an effective remedy for colds and a cure after becoming frost-bitten. This use stems, in particular, from a high content of vitamin C in raspberry juice. Raspberries can also be used in cosmetology - in the past, infusion from raspberry leaves mixes with potash was used for dyeing hair black.