Raspberry season is here and not only do these small, innocuous looking berries pack a high degree of nutritional value they are a delicious addition to a healthy lifestyle. Raspberries are successfully grown in all temperate regions of the world including my backyard in upstate New York. There are eight different species of raspberries in the world, the most popular being red raspberries.
The raspberry has been used for centuries to treat pregnant women with morning sickness but more recent studies have shown that consuming 3 or more servings a day will lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the main cause of vision loss in older adults. Their high level of antioxidants helps neutralize free radicals in the body and thus, prevents damage to cell membranes & other structures. Raspberries are also an excellent source of quercetin, an antioxidant that diminishes the release of histamines, minimizing allergic reactions, as well as vitamin C and manganese which help protect our body from environmental damage. It is also one of the few fruits whose consumption has little effect on blood sugar levels. Additionally, research is suggesting that raspberries may have cancer protective properties; inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and tumor formation in various parts of the body, including the colon.
One ¾ cup serving of raspberries contains approximately 1 gram of fat, 7 grams of fiber and 52 calories making it an excellent choice as a healthy snack.
As raspberries are highly perishable, they should only be purchased one or two days prior to use. Choose berries that are firm, plump and deep in color, while avoiding those that are soft, mushy or moldy. Raspberries are generally available from midsummer through early fall. Being a highly perishable fruit, extreme care should be taken when storing. Making sure not to leave raspberries at room temperature or exposed to sunlight for too long, as this will cause them to spoil. Raspberries freeze very well and adding a bit of lemon juice to them will help preserve their color.
Try your fresh or frozen raspberries in this Lemon Berry Muffin recipe for a light summer breakfast. Seasonal, healthy and so good~
Lemon Berry Muffins
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.
- Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
- Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Makes 12 muffins
Carol DiPirro has been passionate about cooking, nutrition and healthy eating since she was a child, baking her first eggless cake from scratch at 8 yrs old. Growing up in an Italian family, clean healthy eating was the furthest thing from her dinner table. She has enjoyed years of re-creating her family’s favorite meals in a lighter, healthier way. She is currently studying towards a degree in Nutrition. Join Carol's Facebook Fan page: Chilly Peppers.