There are two seasons to enjoy raspberry picking, the first in early summer and the last from early fall through the first frost. When the raspberry harvest is plentiful, consider transforming some of those fresh beauties into raspberry juice you can use later in the year for beverages as well as in recipes.
It's easy to sing the praises of raspberries, a fruit that is very high in vitamin C and fiber as well as being a good source of iron and folate. Raspberries can be red, black, purple or gold in color. They contain a substance call ellagic acid which helps prevent cancer. Research has proven that raspberry consumption lowers cholesterol levels. Raspberries are also high in Vitamin A, calcium and potassium, good for the functioning of the body's nervous system.
Because raspberries will not ripen further once picked off the bush, it's important to harvest only raspberries which are fully sweet and ripened. Look for berries that are plump and firm with good color and ones that easily pull off the stem, which is a good sign of ripeness.
Keep raspberries unwashed and refrigerated until ready to make raspberry juice. Rinse the berries and put in a cooking pot with equal amounts of water, one cup raspberries for each cup of water. Bring this mixture to a full boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer. Once the berry mixture is simmering, mash the berries with a fork or potato masher in order to extract the juice and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Now pour this mixture into a wide-mouth glass jar using a cheesecloth as a strainer to hold back all the tiny raspberry seeds and collect only pure raspberry juice into your container. Squeeze the raspberry pulp left in the cheesecloth until you have extracted as much juice as possible.
In order to sweeten the juice, pour the liquid into a cooking pot on the stove, add 1/4 cup superfine sugar for every cup of juice and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar completely melts.
You can enjoy drinking raspberry juice as a beverage, blend it with lemonade for a pretty and delicious pink drink, or blend it with other fruit juices such as peach, pineapple, strawberry or lime. Raspberry juice is also a nice flavoring to add to plain iced tea.
If you are not going to consume your raspberry juice right away, pour it into sealable freezer containers and freeze until ready to enjoy.