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Raspberries ready at U-pick farms

We're in the heyday of summer now - the full, warm, robust middle age of the year - and gardens are beginning to be ripe with produce. It is a most fulfilling time of the year.

The raspberry season finally arrived and the raspberry vine jungle is dripping with bright red jewels. They are being picked in our yards and at the U-pick farms. Raspberry picking is not a backbreaking job since the brambles grow upright and the fruit can be picked at waist level.

Pick only after the sun has dried the morning dew - they will keep better unless you plan to eat them right away, then the morning dew adds to the fresh juicy flavor. Pick only when absolutely ripe; pull off gently with thumb and forefinger. Pick ones that are plump, well-shaped, firm, of uniform size and a bright color, not soft or leaky. Properly red and ripe berries slide off their cores with ease.

Put into small containers so the weight of the top berries won't crush those underneath. Put into the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To clean raspberries, rinse them gently and briefly in cold water; drain on paper towels. Do not let them soak in water.

The addition of raspberries to a menu makes an everyday meal a bit on the gourmet side. Most places offer a RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE for a green salad - easy to make and keeps well in the refrigerator. Just place 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in blender and blend for 1 minute. Strain out the seeds. Store in a covered jar in refrigerator. Shake well before using.



Raspberry desserts make for special endings to a meal this time of year.



RASPBERRY

CUSTARD PIE

Line a 9-inch pie plate with your favorite pastry.

In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs. Add 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup evaporated milk,

2 teaspoons vanilla and dash salt; mix well. Gently fold in 51/2 cups raspberries. Pour into crust.

For topping, combine 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar in bowl; cut in 1/4 cup cold butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake in preheated 400-

degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45-50 minutes longer or until tests done. Cool on wire rack.

- from 2007 TASTE OF HOME ANNUAL RECIPES



RASPBERRY LIME PIE

In a large bowl, stir together 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup lime juice. Mix in 1 8-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed. Add few drops red food coloring if desired. Gently fold in 1 cup raspberries. Spoon into graham cracker pie crust, baked and cooled. Chill. Garnish with raspberries and mint leaves before serving.

- from GRANDMA'S GREAT DESSERTS



RASPBERRY SUPREME CHEESECAKE

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup chopped toasted almonds

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup butter, melted

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 6-ounce package raspberry gelatin

2 cups hot water

21/2 cups raspberries

2 cups whipped cream

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Combine first four ingredients. Press into the bottom of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan; chill for 30 minutes. Beat cream cheese, milk, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Pour over crust; chill.

Dissolve gelatin in hot water; add raspberries and stir. Chill until very thick. Pour over filling. Chill until set. Before serving, top with whipped cream and almonds. Serves 16-20.

- from GRANDMA'S GREAT DESSERTS



RASPBERRY SAUCE

OVER ORANGE

SHERBET

In blender, puree 2 cups raspberries; strain out seeds. Sweeten with 2-3 tablespoons honey. Pour over orange sherbet.

- from my files





COPYRIGHT. MARIAN PLATT, SEQUIM, 2009. She can be reached at 683-4691 or via e-mail at mlplatt@olypen.com.





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