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Seasonal Eats: Get Out Into Nature and Pick Some Raspberries!

2 Flats of Hand-Picked Raspberries (Heather Parlato/LAist)
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Despite the seasonal changes, the warmth of southern California means we still have some summer fruits around, one of which is raspberries! Get them fresh at the farmers' markets around town, or choose a pick-your-own farm to visit and pick yourself a flat of fresh fruit!

Raspberries are made up of about 100 individual druplets, which contain juice, pulp and one raspberry seed. They tend to have a tart flavor, though they can sweeten up considerably at the peak of ripeness. The leaves of red raspberries have often been taken as a tea to regulate the menstrual cycle. Raspberries have a glycemic load of 3, are mildly anti-inflammatory, and are a good source of Vitamin K and magnesium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C and manganese.

Having both sweet and tart qualities, raspberries have been a favorite for fruit-based vinaigrette dressing. Another way to enjoy raspberries in salads is this colorful red cabbage with raspberries, onions and apples. Put a new spin on your salad with chicken, as in this spinach salad with grilled chicken, mango and raspberries szwarc. If you're looking for a raspberry-cheese pairing in a special appetizer, make these pastry-wrapped brie with raspberries for your next party!

For savory dishes, try out a sauce, such as hazelnut-crusted chicken with raspberry sauce, or use the whole fruit, as in duck with raspberries (canard aux framboises). Kick things up with the fantastic flavor combinations in zuni rolls with raspberry-chipotle sauce.

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On to desserts, there are a lot of great ones to choose from, so I've picked out the most interesting to highlight. In the freezer, start with raspberry sorbet, or some tasty raspberry frozen yogurt, or even raspberry ricotta gelato! When you've got that down, try out vacherins with raspberry sorbet and mixed-berry cardamom sauce, or this double-whammy, raspberry frozen yogurt cake with raspberry amaretto sauce! If you have lots of extra fruit, raspberry freezer jam is a nice way to preserve the flavor for colder seasons.

For the warmer desserts, this raspberry cake with marsala crème fraiche and raspberries sounds fantastic! Marry them up with almonds and bake up this lovely raspberry almond lattice tart. Bring two late summer fruits together with peach-raspberry trifle or this floral-scented nectarines in lavender-infused raspberry sauce. If you're up for dipping, chocolate-covered raspberry truffles sound divine!

I went raspberry picking last week and came home with a full 3-pack of fresh fruit! So far, I've only eaten them fresh, since it's such a luxury to have so many berries. I opted to create a spiced parfait, perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Raspberry Pepita Parfaits (Heather Parlato/LAist)
Raspberry Pepita Parfaits

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup whole plain yogurt

2 tbs pepitas

1 tb vanilla extract

1 tb honey

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1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

a splash of rosewater (optional)

Place everything except the raspberries & pepitas in a small mixing bowl and mix until you reach a uniform consistency. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary.

Depending on the glass you use, you can choose how to layer your berries and yogurt. I chose these martini glasses, so i put a heaping tablespoon of yogurt on the bottom, then a layer of berries, then split the remaining yogurt, and sprinkled the remaining pepitas and berries on top.

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