I'm including raspberries with herbs because this is one of the world's greatest super fruits, with both the berries and leaves having wonderful benefits for health and many uses as a medicinal.
In colder climates raspberries are found growing wild, but here in Virginia we have to acquire varieties that are suited to our hot climate.
Raspberries should be planted in full sun in the early spring. The holes should be large enough to accommodate the roots without crowding and will appreciate some compost added to the hole. For optimum results, soak the roots for an hour or 2 before planting. Plants should be placed 3' apart and in rows 8' apart. After planting, cut the canes back to 8" tall and mulch well to keep in the moisture that raspberries crave. Raspberries appreciate extra support, so add a trellis if possible or consider planting them along a fence. Make sure the plants get at least 1" of water weekly. You'll have to wait until next season to gather all but the occasional berry, so prepare the plants well for a bountiful harvest next year. Raspberries have few pest problems, so there's little need to worry about pesticide use.
SUMMER BEARING varieties produce fruit once in the summer. Berries grow only on last year's canes which are brown. In fall, prune the brown canes and leave the green ones that will produce next year's fruit. Leave the 6 strongest canes for next year and cut back the remaining green canes and any that grow sideways. Keep the row about 20" wide.
EVER BEARING varieties produce fruit twice - once in the summer and again in the fall. After the fall harvest, simply mow the plants to the grown and discard debris.
Berries will appear over about a 2 week period of time and it's best to pick them daily. Wait until the berries are dried from the morning dew. Pull gently; ripe fruit will break away easily from the stem. If you soak them for 5 minutes in vinegar, rinse and let them dry then they'll keep in the fridge for 5-7 days. If you're making jam, it's best to do so on the day the berries are picked. To try and save some for later, freeze them on a cookie sheet then toss the frozen berries into an airtight bag.
Raspberries are an ideal source of vitamin c, with one cup raw berries providing 50% of your daily requirement. They are a potent source of antioxidants and polyphenols, shown to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The high amount of flavonoids make them an excellent source to aid your memory as well as helping to combat chronic diseases associated with chronic oxidative stress and inflammation including cancer, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Raspberry leaf tea is used for relieving gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, respiratory problems including relief of flu symptoms, and to help induce sweating and urination. It is popularly used by women to help ease labor and help with menstrual cramps and post partum cramping.
How to Make Raspberry Leaf Tea
Collect a decent amount of leaves, give them a quick rinse and dry them out. Make sure they can breathe so that they dry out completely over the course of a few days. If there is any moisture left after the drying process then they will mold in storage so be doubly sure they’re dry.
Once your leaves are all nice and dry and you’re ready to brew your first cup of red raspberry leaf tea (or pot, if you prefer), just take about a half ounce of the leaves per cup and pour boiling water over them, steep for 10 minutes or so and then enjoy. It’s best enjoyed straight, or with a little bit of sugar or honey. Remember, it’s not going to actually taste like raspberries because you didn’t add any of the fruit. The taste is actually similar to black tea. If you want a raspberry taste, then
Raspberry Tea Recipe raspberries added to any tea makes a scrumptious and healthy drink