November 02, 2017
A Passion for Berries

It seems that the raspberry (from the earlier raspis berry, possibly from raspis, "a sweet rose-colored wine," or the Old French raspe, also meaning raspberry) has long been a much sought-after fruit, the gods of Olympus themselves having enjoyed this extraordinary tasting berry.  So much so that to calm down the young Zeus, who suffered from dreadful fits punctuated by furious cries, Ida, the nymph who was his nursemaid, tried to pick a raspberry for him from the bramble bushes covering the Cretan mountainside where Zeus had been hidden from the murderous instincts of his terrible father Cronus.  In so doing, she scratched her breast and her blood flowed onto the raspberries, which were white at the time, forever tinting them a brilliant scarlet.  This extraordinary legend has been passed down through centuries and, at the beginning of the first century, Pliny, the Elder still believe Mount Ida to be the only place where raspberries grew.  Although it is likely that raspberry bushes originated in the mountainous regions of East Asia rather than in Greece, scientists nonetheless gave it the name of Rubus idaeus, or Ida's bramble, in homage to this charming story.  

In addition to possessing undeniable taste qualities, raspberries have long played a role in the traditional medicine of many cultures, where as an antidote used by the Russians, or to postpone aging, as used by the Chinese.  Just like strawberries, raspberries contain large amounts of very powerful anticancer molecule, ellagic acid, and are a fascinating food.  

Kyle Muir

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