Harvesting Raspberries for Both the Fruit and the Herb
The Lord wants us to be self reliant. He wants us to take care of ourselves and others.
“Self-reliance is a product of our work and undergirds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being.”
—Thomas S. Monson, “Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare, ”
Liahona, Feb. 1987, 5
Planting a garden, even a small one, allows for a greater degree of self-reliance. With the right information and a little practice, individuals and entire families can enjoy the many benefits of planting and tending a garden.
and so we Plant, Tend, and Harvest.
Today I picked my last raspberries of the season. I have 2, 100 foot long rows of raspberries. They are thorn-less red berries that start producing in August here in Idaho. Today is Nov 7 2015 and I harvested 4 quarts of raspberries. We have been picking berries 2-3 times a week since August until about 2 weeks ago and then we went to once a week. We have picked as many as 60 quarts in one picking this season. So that goes to show that we have been preserving a lot of berries. We freeze a lot of the berries, but this year we also made Raspberry Syrup and Raspberry Jam and I dehydrated a few.
My Favorite Raspberries
I want to share with you the variety of raspberries I purchased so you too can have such a large harvest from your own garden patch. A couple of years ago I ask a local grower what variety of berries he grew. He told me the variety he used was Joan J. I went home and looked up this variety on the internet and found it at Nourse farms. I then ordered a hundred plants and planted 2 rows 100 feet long. This Fall Bearing Raspberry Plant bears some fruit the first fall of the planting year. We got some berries the 1st year. and more the second year and even more the 3rd year.(this year was the 3rd) this is what they look like this year.
This is a high-yielding, thornless, early primocane raspberry variety. The fruit is large and holds its size well. Berries are firm, and easy to pick, and they have a good flavor. We have really enjoyed having this variety of berries over the ones we used to have. We love that there are no scratchy thorns on the stems. Even our grandchildren have fun picking the berries. I have never had raspberries that were this easy to pick and process. I can pick 3 times as fast since I do not have to worry about the thorns. There are more berries per branch. they ripen somewhat in clusters.
They are easy to take care of also. no need to sort through and prune out dead wood. We just cut everything back in the spring before the green up. The berries start to bear in Aug and go until frost. We love them. They can be mulched with manure and wood shavings to increase the nutrients available in the plant.
Raspberries are my favorite fruit. They are delicious and versatile. I love them in smoothies, in pies, as jam on toast, as syrup for pancakes or over cheese cake, and as a filling for danish pastry. There are so many ways to use raspberries. They are also great in a bowl with a little milk and honey. Watch for links to these wonderful recipes in later posts.
Drying the Leaves
In addition to harvesting the berries I harvested some of the leaves to dry as a medicinal herb. Raspberry leaves are a great medicinal herb, especially for women.
It is best to harvest the leaves when they are young. I watch throughout the growing season for young shoots and harvest them. At the end of the season there are still several young shoots available and I harvest them for the herbal benefit.
Once I have them all gathered them I place them on a cookie sheet and let them air dry for a few days.
After they feel dry I crumble them with my fingers and store them in a glass Jar or mylar bag. They should be kept in a dark place.
They make a great morning tea. I like to mix mine with peppermint and honey.
I am a member of a facebook group that does a monthly group order for herbs. Machelle Littlefield runs this group and puts up a google doc for each herb with the info on that herb. This is a link to the doc for raspberry leaf. Google Doc on Raspberry Leaf Uses The following is a copy of the information in The herbal buying group document. Thanks to Machelle Littlefield for letting me use her information.
Red Raspberry Leaf
|In a Nutshell: One of the many virtues of red raspberry leaves is that it feeds the reproductive organs and strengthens them so they work properly on their own. When these organs are strong and healthy, a woman can go through a healthy pregnancy without complications and a healthy baby is born. Women have used red raspberry leaves for painful periods, heavy periods, morning sickness during pregnancy, preventing miscarriage, easing labor and delivery and enriching breast milk. I know of a midwife who will not deliver her clients babies if they don’t drink a cup of raspberry tea a day during their pregnancy!
The renowned Quaker herbalist, Henry Box, is quoted as saying, “A tea made from Red Raspberry leaves is the best gift God ever gave to women. This is an herb with centuries of safe use behind it and all pregnant women should have it in their cupboards. During pregnancy, drink at least 3 cups per day!Rule of thumb with ALL herbal medicine: Treat early, often and after!
Cultivation: The leaf is the medicine, often used dried. Raspberry leaves gathered in spring before the plant flowers have the highest antioxidant content. There isn’t a significant difference in healing properties between the different varieties of Red Raspberry. A wild form of raspberry, called Thimbleberry (pictured at bottom), is very effective, and grown abundantly in the mountain west. I love to harvest this one because the leaves are huge and you can harvest so much so quickly!
Common Names: Bramble of Mount Ida, European Red Raspberry, Garden Raspberry, Hindberry, Raspis.
General Notes: Raspberry leaf has a beneficial effect upon the heart. Raspberry Leaf is one of the most proven female herbs as it eases menstrual cramps, has an astringent action on the female reproductive tract,helps a tired uterus as a result of childbearing, improves the efficiency of the muscle of the womb, prevents or overcomes prolapse of the uterus in older women. It also regulates menstrual flow, relieves leucorrhea (excessive vaginal discharge), tightens, and tones and strengthens the ligaments supporting the uterus.
During pregnancy and labor it cuts down on post-partum bleeding, decreases uterine swelling after childbirth, helps prevents miscarriage, helps the womb return to its normal place after pregnancy, helps to reduce false labor pains (warm infusion taken), improves the efficiency of contractions, increases milk supply in nursing mothers, reduces the pain of childbirth, reduces the labor time during childbirth, strengthens and tones the tissues of the uterine wall during pregnancy to help with contractions and hemorrhaging, strengthens the pelvic muscles and ligaments to promote an easy normal birth, is used in the last trimester of pregnancy as a uterine tonic.
Raspberry is also great for gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, diarrhea in infants, dysentery, extreme laxity of the bowels (cold infusion taken), and general stomach complaints in children.
A tea made from raspberry leaves is also very effective at relieving thirst, “tightening” any “loose” condition, controlling fever, and soothing mucous membranes.
It is also known to be used as a gargle for bleeding gums, cankers of the mouth, dissolving tartar on the teeth, inflammation of the mouth, sore throat, and relieving ulcers of the mouth.
Externally, Raspberry can be used as a wash for burns, *proud flesh, scalds, skin rashes, sores, ulcers, or wounds. Proud flesh is basically swollen tissue around a healing wound. Happens a lot in horses, but can happen in humans, too.” Proud flesh — so-called because like one’s pride, the tissue swells. Often used as a poultice combined with Slippery Elm for burns, cleansing wounds, promoting healing, removing proud flesh, and scalds. Raspberry is a valuable stimulant herb.
When to reach for this herb:
-for any condition relating to the female reproductive system, including pregnancy and breastfeeding issues (see general notes for more info)
-diarrhea, even in infants
-general stomach complaints in children
-diarrhea caused by dysentery
-vomiting in children
-can use as a gargle for bleeding gums, ulcers of the mouth, sore throat, and for dissolving tartar off teeth
-Externally as a wash for burns, scalds, skin rashes, sores, ulcers, or wounds
-morning sickness and pregnancy related nausea
-anything female hormone related, from puberty to menopause
-symptoms of pregnancy, such as constipation, or sometimes diarrhea, frequent urination, bleeding gums, and pain in joints and tendons
-for sore mouth, sore throat, and spongy gums
What it wants to do for you:
Raspberry Leaf is:
-anti-hemorrhagic [an agent to stop hemorrhages]
-anti-scrofulous [preventing or curing scrofulous diseases, which include a -tuberculous disease of the lymph nodes and bones accompanied by discharging abscesses]
-astringent [a binding agent that contracts organic tissue, reducing secretions or discharges of mucous and fluid from the body]
-cardiac [an agent that stimulates or otherwise affects the heart]
-stimulant [an agent that excites or quickens the functional activity of the tissues giving more energy]
-tonic [an agent that tones, strengthens and invigorates organs or the entire organism giving a feeling of well-being]
How to Use:
Tea or tincture! Also as an external wash, poultice, etc, etc. It can be used any way you can imagine! Raspberry leaves are among the most pleasant-tasting of all the herbal remedies, with a taste much like black tea, without the caffeine.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Punch
2 Quarts water
3 Tablespoons Red Raspberry Leaf Tea- in a muslin tea bag or tea ball
Bring the water to a boil, add the tea and turn the heat off. Allow to steep for 10-20 minutes. Add honey to bring to desired sweetness. Add fresh or frozen Red Raspberries and fresh raspberry leaves. This recipe can also be made into popsicles. Enjoy!
Recipe by Tonya Judd, Master Herbalist
Excerpts from Butterfly Miracles with Herbal Remedies:
Stimulant herbs help increase specific actions throughout the body. They bring up energy levels, increase circulation, increase the pressure and power of the pulse, and because of these actions, aid in the elimination of toxins from the body. There are over 200 stimulant herbs, with ginger, elderflower, echinacea, cayenne, nettle, yarrow, peppermint, echinacea and raspberry just being a few.
Tonic herbs are used to increase energy, vigor, and strength by nourishing the body. There are tonic herbs for the liver, heart, nerves, and for every organ and system of the body. Most tonic herbs, no matter the category they are listed in, strengthen the digestive system in some way. The result of this is greater assimilation of nutrients. The nutrients then strengthen and feed the body wherever they are most needed. Raspberry is a great tonic of the hormones, reproductive processes and sexual function for both men and women.
Red Raspberry is frequently used by women of childbearing age during pregnancy. It is a mild astringent which gently tones and contracts the entire reproductive system. The hormones of pregnancy loosen muscle structures so the uterus and surrounding muscles can stretch to accommodate the growing fetus. This loosening often results in the interesting symptoms of pregnancy, such as constipation, or sometimes diarrhea, frequent urination, bleeding gums, and pain in joints and tendons. Raspberry, taken as a tea or tincture, greatly reduces these symptoms while still allowing the uterus to expand and the hips to move apart as needed. red Raspberry is often overlooked when not dealing with the symptoms of pregnancy. This herb would be used with good benefit most cases of diarrhea, constipation, stomach and intestinal upset, and hemorrhoids. It should be considered by diabetics to stabilize the pancreas. It is used frequently for sore mouth, sore throat, and spongy gums. it is a main ingredient in formulas that are used in the eyes. A wild form of raspberry, called Thimbleberry (pictured), is very effective, and grown abundantly in the mountain west. I love to harvest this one because the leaves are huge and you can harvest so much so quickly!
Excerpts from The How to Herb Book:
Red Raspberry Leaf is used as a basic herbal foundation for all female organs and problems. It is in many female combinations.
- Strengthens wall of uterus and entire female reproductive system.
- Decreases profuse menstrual flow.
- Good during all months of pregnancy. Alleviates morning sickness and nausea. Assists labor, makes delivery easier and relieves after pains. Tones and regulates before, during and after childbirth.
- Increases and enriches milk for lactation, can be combined with marshmallow tea.
- Raspberry tea is mild and pleasant to taste. It is good for stomachaches and bowel problems in children. For diarrhea in babies.
- Soothing to stomach and bowels and cankerous conditions of mucous membranes in the alimentary canal.
- High mineral and vitamin source.
- was terribly nauseous during the first trimester of her pregnancy. She felt weak and was receiving B-12 shots from her doctor. She started drinking 3 to 4 cups of Red Raspberry tea every day, the nausea went away. She was able to start eating again, and felt the tea helped her during delivery too.
Excerpts from Practical Herbalism:
The renowned Quaker herbalist, Henry Box, is quoted as saying, “A tea made from Red Raspberry leaves is the best gift God ever gave to women. Its utility in travail is surprising. As a drink before and after confinement, it is unequaled by any other agent. If the pains of childbirth are premature, it will make all quiet. When timely, it will occasion a safe and easy parturition. If the mother is weak, it will abundantly strengthen her, cleanse her and enrich her milk.
The tea has been taken freely during all phases of pregnancy, and particularly during the last trimester to tone the uterus, and prepare the body for delivery. Dr. Christopher summed it up thus:
“When taken regularly in pregnancy, the infusion will quiet inappropriate premature pains and produce a safe, speedy, and easy delivery. Raspberry leaves stimulate, tone, and regulate before and during childbearing, assisting contractions and checking hemorrhage during labor, relieving after-pains, then strengthening, cleansing, and enriching the milk of the mother in the post-delivery period.”
Excerpts from Nutritional Herbology:
Red raspberry leaf tea is one of the most renowned herbal teas. It has a wide reputation as a female tonic for relieving excessive menstrual bleeding. For pregnant women, it is used to relieve nausea, to tone the uterus in preparation for childbirth and to reduce the pain of childbirth.
Because of its widespread availability in pleasantly flavored teas, the astringent leaves are administered to children with diarrhea, flu, and vomiting.
Contains astringent compounds that relieve pain and shrink inflamed tissues, especially in the female reproductive system. It also contains bitter compounds that relieve smooth muscle spasms. it is an excellent herb source of manganese.
Red Raspberry Leaf is high or very high on the following nutrients: Calcium, Magnesium, Niacin, Vitamin A, Iron, Maganese, Selenium, Vitamin C. It can be used to benefit anyone: men, women (including before, during or after pregnancy, and nursing), children and animals. It can be used as often as you would like, and in any way you choose.
**In my research, I came across many cases of this wonderful herb being used on animals to address wounds, ulcers, etc, as well as added to feed for horses having difficulty with pain and cramping when they came into heat, or during pregnancy.