We went raspberry picking over Labor Day weekend at Thompson-Finch Farm in the Hudson Valley. It had taken a little bit of searching to find a u-pick place that doesn’t spray their berries. But when we found it, we showed up bright and early so that we could get some good picking in before we had to wrap up our vacation and head back home to Brooklyn.
As I reached out for that first berry I was feeling especially thankful that it was free of pesticides and said to my 5-year-old, “I think fresh raspberries straight from the bush are my favorite food.”
In response, she sweetly asked, “Why are fresh raspberries straight from the bush your favorite food?” (Have I been pushing the idea of speaking in complete sentences too hard?)
“Because they are so sweet and delicate and still warm from the sun. And they are fun to pick and pop in my mouth,” I answered with a raspberry-tinged grin.
They were fun to pick. We kept picking and picking, and by the time we got back home, after several hours in the car, popping berries in our mouths like they were popcorn, we still managed to bring a small bucketful up to our kitchen. By this point, I could hardly look at them. I considered the possibility that it was my full belly pleading, ‘no more!’ But I had to admit, they really did look a little worse for the wear. During the drive, with the bucket being passed around, accidently kicked, and jostled over bumpy roads, these very ripe raspberries had gotten a little bruised. They were still quite plump, but the deeply red juice was starting to seep out and stain the bottom of the bucket.
Something had to be done with them soon. They were going to go downhill fast. And so was I. I was tired from the long day and was not interested in doing anything complicated. The raspberries went straight into the saucepan (I don’t like to wash raspberries, another reason for picking organic) with some sugar and simmered gently for about 15 minutes. After straining the thick liquid, I had a deeply crimson sauce that was rich with the flavor of the sun-soaked berries.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Makes about 1 cup
1 pound fresh raspberries (or, if you are longing for that summer flavor in the middle of winter, frozen raspberries work nicely, too)
½ cup sugar (or more if you prefer a sweeter, less tangy sauce)
- Bring raspberries and sugar to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer until raspberries have broken down into a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
Using a fine mesh strainer or chinois placed over a bowl, strain the seeds out of the sauce. Encourage the liquid to pass through with a plunging motion of a pestle, wooden spoon, or small ladle. Try to squeeze as much liquid out of the pulpy mess; the final pressings will add thickness to the sauce.
- Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature over ice cream, cake, pancakes or waffles. It also can be drizzled into mixed drinks and smoothies.