Monday, 05 May 2014 20:00

How do Raspberries Grow?

There are many varieties of raspberry, but the two most popular are Rubus idaeus, the Eurasian red raspberry variety, and Rubus occidentalis, the eastern North American black raspberry variety.

  • Latin Name:

    Rubus

  • Growth:

    Raspberries are the edible, perennial fruit of a variety of plant species of the genus, Rubus, a member of the rose family. Although they are typically most inclined to cooler climates, though they can be grown successfully in Hardiness Zones 2-7.

    Click here for USDA Hardiness Zone map.

    There are two types of raspberries. Summer-bearers bear one crop per season, in the summer. Ever-bearers produce two crops, one in summer and one in fall.

    Raspberries are traditionally planted in canes, although planting plug plants produced from tissue culture has become an increasingly popular method. They root best in moist soil, and should be planted approximately two feet apart.

  • Propagation:

    The most common method of propagating raspberries is by using cuttings, as this method preserves the genotype of the parent plant.

    Raspberries propagate using basal shoots (also known as suckers). Basal shoots are extended underground shoots that develop roots, and because of this, they spread easily by suckering new canes that are distanced from the main plant. For this reason, garden keepers should remain vigilant to prevent raspberries from taking over their garden.

  • Harvest:

    All varieties should begin producing fruit in their second season, though ever-bearers may begin to produce small berries during their first autumn.

    It is best to harvest raspberries on a sunny day when they are dry. During the early summer, berries will ripen over the course of two weeks, and should be harvested every couple days. A ripe raspberry will separate from the vine easily, and should never be forced.

    Both varieties should be pruned during the fall to prevent overgrowth, but it is advised to prune only the older canes that have completed their fruitful year. First-year canes are recognizable by their green stems, whereas second-year canes are covered in a thin, brown bark.

     

  • Storage:

    Raspberries can be kept refrigerated for about five days. If the raspberries are being used to make preserves, it should be done immediately after harvesting.

    Raspberries can be stored frozen. To do this, freeze a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze. Transfer the raspberries to airtight bags once frozen.

  • History:

    Red raspberries are believed to have originated in eastern Asia, and were a known staple of the prehistoric diet. Black raspberries are native to northeastern America. Roman records dating back to the 4th century AD date the first known cultivation of raspberry plant canes, and it is believed that the Romans were responsible for the spread of raspberries across Europe.

    English king, Edward I, is credited with encouraging raspberry cultivation throughout England during the 13th century, and English colonists in the late 18th century are credited with crossing the first red raspberries with black raspberries native to northeastern America.

  • Top Producers:

    Poland is the largest raspberry producer in the world. Other top raspberry producers include Russia, the United States (Washington, California,and Oregon), the Republic of Serbia, and Ukraine.

  • Varieties:

    The two main types of raspberries are ever-bearing and summer-bearing raspberries. Ever-bearers produce fruit twice in a year, during both the summer and fall, whereas summer-bearing raspberries only produce one crop during the summertime. There are dozens of varieties of raspberries that are divided into categories based on color: Red raspberries, black raspberries, yellow/golden raspberries, and purple raspberries.  

    Most black and purple raspberry varieties are summer-bearing, yellow/golden raspberries are ever-bearing, and red raspberries are a mixture of summer and ever-bearing varieties.

  • Products:

    What are the most common uses for raspberries?

     

    Raspberries are sold fresh or frozen. Raspberries that are frozen immediately after they are harvested retain more of their nutrients and phytochemicals.

     

    They are canned in jams and jellies.

     

    They are sometimes used in wines and beers, or dried to use in teas.

     

    Raspberries are eaten raw, and are used in a variety of smoothies, cocktails, desserts, salads, dressings, and sauces.

  • Top Health Benefits:

    Raspberries have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which some studies have indicated are effective in inhibiting cancer cell growth.

    Raspberries contain high levels of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy heartbeat and lowers blood pressure. They also contain minerals such as iron and copper, essential for blood cell health.

    Raspberries are low in fat and high in fiber content, making them an excellent snack to include in a healthy weight-loss diet program.

    Raspberry leaf tea has long been used for its benefits to the female reproductive system, particularly during pregnancy, due to its high magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B content. It is also said to be effective in the relief of mouth sores such as canker sores, the treatment of gingivitis, and in promoting digestive health.