Try A Fruit With A Fiber Punch

Do you know which fruit is a great source of fiber?

That’s kind of a tricky question, because most fruits are good sources of fiber.

However, raspberries top the list on fiber content. One cup of raspberries provides about 8 grams of fiber, which is about one-third of a person’s average daily fiber needs.

Fiber serves many purposes in a healthful diet. Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, aid in weight loss, help control blood sugar levels and maintain regularity.

Remember to increase your fluid intake if you are adding more fiber to your diet. Be sure to increase fiber intake gradually during a period of a few weeks to avoid symptoms such as intestinal gas and abdominal bloating.

One cup of raspberries also provides about one-half of the recommended daily value for vitamin C. Plus, they’re a good source of disease-fighting natural antioxidants.

Raspberries are a popular fruit in North Dakota because they are fairly easy to grow in our climate. Two main types of raspberry plants are available: summer-bearing and ever-bearing. Planting a combination of the two types can extend your harvest.

Summer-bearers produce one crop per season in the summer months. Ever-bearers bear two crops, one in the summer and one in the fall. All varieties will begin to produce fruit during their second season.

Raspberries often are enjoyed in their fresh form. However, they also can be preserved by freezing or making jam, wine or sorbet. In addition, raspberry leaves can be used to make tea.

Store raspberries in the refrigerator for two to three days. Discard any bruised or moldy raspberries before refrigerating.

To extend the shelf life of raspberries, wait to rinse them under cool, running water until just before eating them.

Raspberries are one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including raspberries.

Here’s a sweet raspberry recipe to try.

Raspberry Applesauce Squares

Crust and crumb topping
1½ c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. butter
½ c. all-purpose flour

Filling
1 c. fresh raspberries
1 c. applesauce
½ c. oat bran
½ c. white sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Combine oats, brown sugar and butter using a pastry blender. Add flour and continue combining, using a pastry blender, until crumbly. Spread half the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven until crust is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Mix raspberries, applesauce, oat bran and white sugar together in a bowl. Spread the raspberry filling onto the cooled crust and sprinkle with remaining crumb topping. Bake until topping is lightly browned, about 20 more minutes.

Makes 12 servings. Each serving has 330 calories, 15 grams (g) fat, 3 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber and 105 milligrams sodium.

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Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a professor and food and nutrition specialist with the NDSU Extension Service.

Raspberry image courtesy of flickr.com (Ruby’s Feast) used under creative commons.