Red berries are plentiful in nature, but not all of them can be safely eaten. The red berries that can be consumed, however, are among many people’s favorite foods. They show up in pies, cobblers, jams or are simply eaten raw. Berries are plentiful in many states and can be rewarding for the home gardener.
There are over 200 species of raspberries, which explains why they can be grown anywhere from icy Southern Chile to steamy Ecuador. The raspberries you buy in the store are often red, but they can also be black, purple, orange or yellow. Raspberries, like most berries, are low in calories and high in nutrients, providing more than half the RDA for vitamin C.
Strawberries are one of the most beloved of the red berries, showing up in everything from breakfast pastries to ice cream. The strawberry holds the distinction of being the only fruit that has seeds on the outside, rather than the inside. You’ll find that store-bought strawberries tend to be sweeter than wild strawberries, even though the wild strawberries have a luscious appearance. Lovers of strawberry shortcake may enjoy the fact that Native Americans made strawberry bread, which the Colonists adapted and expanded into the rich dessert we eat today. One cup of strawberries—sans whipped cream—will provide 150 percent of the RDA of vitamin C along with 50 calories.
It simply wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without entering the supermarket and seeing bags of cranberries, cans of cranberry sauce and dried cranberries. Although there is no definitive proof that cranberries were part of the first Thanksgiving menu, it is true that they are native to North America and were most likely familiar to the Native Americans and settlers. It should be noted that cranberries can be stored longer than other berries, which lends to their versatility. One cup of cranberries provides 50 calories and almost 25 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.
Mulberries are so red that they can be a bother to people who find them smashed on driveways and sidewalks. They are known for being very hardy, able to withstand cold, wet and dry weather. Although mulberries are not as popular in the kitchen as some of the other red berries, they are delicious when baked with rhubarb pie, in muffins or in a cobbler. One serving of mulberries will give you almost an entire day’s worth of Vitamin C for only 60 calories.
Red Currants and Gooseberries
Red currants and gooseberries are members of the same species. Gooseberries may or may not be red, as they come in a variety of colors, including green, yellow and pink. Both plants are banned from being planted in many states, as they are a host for White Pine Blister Rust, a threat to the timber industry. Red currants and gooseberries can be tart and taste best when cooked into jams or cobblers with plenty of sugar. Both are less than 100 calories a cup and contain more than half the RDA for vitamin C.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.