Find local raspberries with the Minnesota Grown Directory published by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Our online Directory provides quick access to farm details, links to their website and access to Google Maps driving directions.
Raspberries have been found to have anti-cancer effects, and contain antioxidants, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, The start of Minnesota raspberry season usually falls between the start of strawberry season and blueberry season. Red raspberries are not the only color; they also come in black, purple, and gold- so keep an eye out for these varieties at your farmers market, grocery store, or CSA box!
When picking raspberries, gently grasp the berry between your finger and thumb and pull. When a raspberry is fully ripe, it will easily fall into your hand using this method. If it is hard to detach, the berry is not yet ripe. Another way to identify ripe berries is by color. Raspberries do not further ripen after picking, so only pick the fully red ones!
Because this berry has a hollow core, it is delicate and should be handled carefully! Store your fresh berries in a shallow container as piling them in a deep container will cause them to deteriorate more quickly. If possible, store the berries unwashed, and wash right before eating. They will last three to five days in the refrigerator, and for freezing storage tips, read on!
Any variety of berry is freeze-able, and strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries stand up remarkably well when frozen. It is important to keep in mind a few key pieces when preparing them for freezing, however, to ensure the freshest taste later on.
1.) Do not wash your berries until you are ready to use them! Berries have a natural protective coating that keeps them from spoiling. If you wash this off before immediate use, you will unintentionally cause them to start going bad.
2.) Pick through your berries and remove any overly soft fruit, stems or leaves.
3.) When you are ready to freeze your berries, fill up a big bowl (or your sink) with cold water. Drop in the berries and swish them around gently for no more than 10 seconds before draining them in a colander. Place them on paper towels to dry them completely. Remember, if you soak the berries for too long, they will absorb water and lose their taste!
4.) Line a cookie sheet or pan with wax paper (or other lining) and layer your berries. Try to see that they are not touching; you want to flash freeze them individually. Place the pan on a level freezer shelf for 30 minutes.
5.) Once all berries are frozen in this way you may bag them in labeled zip lock bags. Freezing your berries in this way (vs. dumping them in the bag all at once), results in berries that hold their shape much longer when thawed and cooked. And, because they are individually frozen, they won't stick together - so you can grab a few for a smoothie, pancake batter, or to add to your yogurt without having to thaw the entire bag!
Once frozen, your berries will keep for 10 to 12 months. To thaw them, simply place them in the refrigerator!Toss each cup of frozen berries with 1 or 2 teaspoons of flour, then follow your recipe as usual!
If you do thaw your frozen berries before use, put them in a mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon sugar for each quart of berries, or they will be overly-tart when defrosted.