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A simple summer pleasure: jewel-like red raspberries

By Patricia A. SpencerStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / July 13, 1983

Raspberries are the most fragile and fleeting of summer's fruits, and yet they don't store well enough to be saved and eaten a precious few at a time. They are always the most expensive of the berries, and therefore regarded as the most luxurious. But raspberries are like summer itself - too sweet to be missed - so take full advantage of their short season and enjoy them.

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After a berrying expedition, most raspberry pickers will want to put up several quarts of jam, in order to taste the full flavor of these berries in the dead of winter. A purist will simply wish to sit down for breakfast with a bowl filled to the brim with the fruit and a pitcher of fresh cream.

More adventurous cooks will add a handful or two to a shrimp or chicken salad , fold them into a bread or muffin batter, or combine them with other summer fruits and berries in a compote.

Not only do raspberries add a delicate flavor to a dish, but they give a splash of color and a nice fragrance too.

The raspberry season extends from about June 20 through the end of July. Because they must be sold within a day or two of being picked, about 90 percent of the harvest is frozen.

Frozen berries can be substituted for fresh ones in many recipes. If a recipe calls for 2 cups of berries and about 1/2 cup sugar, you can substitute a 10 -ounce package of frozen berries.

Like blueberries and lemons, or strawberries and oranges, raspberries and peaches are particularly complementary to one another.

Slice the peaches, add some raspberries, and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Or, for a pretty dessert, puree them, sweeten with sugar to taste , and serve over sliced peaches.

Here are more ideas: Raspberry Cream Cheese Crepes 2 eggs 1 cup milk 1/2 cup light cream 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Beat eggs slightly. Add milk and cream; beat until blended. Add flour and oil; mix well. Heat 8-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Butter first time to prevent sticking.

Spoon just enough crepe batter into pan to coat bottom of pan. Cook about 30 seconds, turn with fork and cook about 30 seconds on other side. Stack crepes on a plate and let cool. Makes about 1 dozen crepes. Make cream cheese filling. Cream Cheese Filling 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons whipped cream

Soften cream cheese. Stir in whipped cream just until blended. Spread cheese mixture on cooled crepes, about 1 tablespoon per crepe. Roll up. Make raspberry topping. Raspberry Topping 1 pint fresh raspberries 1 cup raspberry jam 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

Gently rinse berries and dry on paper towel. Heat raspberry jam in small saucepan over low heat. Add half the raspberries and sweeten to taste. Heat just until mixture is hot. Serve over crepes. Top with remaining raspberries. Serves 4 to 6. Raspberry Corn Muffins 2 eggs 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup fresh raspberries 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, and vanilla. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the flour. In large bowl, stir together the rest of the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In small bowl, gently toss raspberries with remaining 2 tablespoons flour.