Fun Facts about Raspberries

Raspberries have been enjoyed by man since the times of cavemen. This much enjoyed berry is unique and fascinating, and has even worked its way into our popular culture. The word "raspberry" seems to come from the Old French raspise, a term meaning “sweet rose-colored wine".

A Derisive Raspberry

The term "raspberry" for a flapping noise made with the tongue and mouth seems to have originated in the Cockney dialect of England. The sound was originally called a raspberry tart, and was later shortened to raspberry. The sound is sometimes used to entertain babies, but was originally a sound of derision reserved for sports teams or to show displeasure. The Razzies, or Golden Raspberry Awards, given to actors who show a lack of acting skill, stems from the word raspberry as a mark of derision.

Raspberries are a type of fruit known as an aggregate fruit. Aggregate fruits have flowers with multiple ovaries and each ovary produces druplets around a core formed by the flower. Each druplet could actually be considered a separate fruit.

Raspberries differ from blackberries because when picked, the stem of the raspberry remains with the plant. Blackberries, on the other hand, come away from the plant with the core still intact in the center of the berry. This is how to tell the difference between a blackberry and a black raspberry.

Raspberries have been crossed with other berries to form new species. The loganberry is a cross between raspberries and blackberries. The boysenberry is a cross between red raspberries, blackberries and loganberries. The nessberry is a cross between a dewberry, raspberry, and blackberry and other crosses include laxtonberries, veitchberries, and mahdiberries.

In Christian art, the raspberry is the symbol for kindness. The red juice of the berries was likened to the blood that runs though the heart, where kindness originates. In the Philippines, a raspberry cane hung from the outside of the house is supposed to deter evil spirits by catching souls as they try to enter the house.

Because the berries are so delicate, the raspberry has also been used as a symbol of fragility. In Germany, raspberries were used to tame horses that were thought bewitched. The cane would be tied to the horse's body in the belief that it would calm them. In a more modern myth, raspberries are credited with turning the coat of the fox from grey to red. In the story The Raspberry Fox by Henning Buchhagen, the fox ate the berries and loved them so much that he ate and ate until he turned as red as the berries.

<< Using Raspberries in Recipes | Raspberry Index >>

Resources: Raspberry Tart
Oxford Journal: Blackberry-Raspberry Hybrids
Dr Hauschka: Plant Library: Raspberry

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