Happy Saturday everyone! Today, I am going to share some facts about a delicious little fruit loved by many, animal and human alike.
Raspberries were abundant in our North American forest clearings, accompanied by blackberries and blueberries, with all of these being an important part of the diet of the Native Americans here before settlement. They would be eaten fresh or dried over the fire to preserve them for winter, where they would be added to breads, soups, puddings and dried meat mixed with fat.
As with a number of the plants I have been telling you about, raspberries were also appreciated as a medicinal plant. The roots of the red raspberry, there actually being black, purple, red and yellow varieties, were used to make an eye wash and also to add flavour to medicine. In the Middle Ages, the juice was used as a red stain in art work. The leaves of the plant however, were of more value in medicinal practice and are still used in herbal teas and tisane meant to sooth the digestive system or menstrual cramps.
Touching on a bit of mythology, the Greeks associated raspberries with fertility and in the Greek stories, the berries were once white. Their red colour came from Zeus' nursemaid, Ida, who had pricked her finger on a thorn, her blood staining the berries red, which they have been ever since.
Have a great rest of your weekend. Until next week,