Raspberry plant, Rubus idaeus, is a semi-shrub belonging to the rose family. It has 2-7 mm thin, brittle and dry branches, which have 1-5 mm long barbs. They sting so little that no protective gloves are needed when picking the raspberries. The plant has few leaves, which are about 4-7 cm long and 2-4 cm broad. The plant, apart from the green colour of the leaves, always looks like it's withering. It lives in a sunny, warm place, typically on the verge of a ditch or a forest. Its underground roots live many years, but the superterranean shrub lives only two years. It is possible to plant raspberry to the garden, but the yield will be quite small. Do not plant a raspberry near a natural shrub to avoid plant disease.

The naturally occuring shrubberies are better places to pick raspberries. Rarely used roads which go through fields can have ditches with raspberries. (Of course roads with a lot of traffic also have raspberry shrubs, but these places are usually a hostile environment, and the berries may have lead or other pollution in them.) The verges of ponds are also good places to find raspberries. Raspberries have to picked by hand. They are tender, so that they'll be squished by too rough handling. An 8-liter pail can't be filled, because the raspberries compress. If you put too much of them into the pail, the lowest ones will be squished to juice.

Many raspberries have little white maggots, which are about 3 mm long and half a millimeter thick. If there are maggots in a berry, usually there's only one. The highest number I have ever seen is three maggots in one berry. Don't worry - those are not harmful in any way, so you can eat them. There is no risk eating raspberries fresh. The maggots will be killed in any preserving, like heating or freezing, or in the acidity of the stomach.

The taste of raspberry is not very strong. It's sweet and subtle. The taste of "raspberry" candies is only distantly like the taste of real raspberry. The contrast is as big as the one between a real strawberry and chewing gum flavored with artificial chemicals. The main "essential oil" of raspberry is the so-called raspberry ketone i.e. 4-(para-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone.

Raspberry leaves are medicinal herbs. They help curing diarrhea, because they contain tannin. In addition, they are mild perspirants and diuretics. They are recommended for pregnant women, because they contain fragarine, which stimulates and soothes the muscles of the uterus. The berries themselves are used for flu. They are being processed industrially in ex-Soviet Union and sold in pharmacies.


A variant of the blown raspberry: Place your lips firmly on the belly of the recipient, and blow to produce a ribald noise. This is perhaps the easiest way to make a baby laugh.

The romantic belly raspberry must be done carefully. In an intimate moment, gently kiss the belly, then perform the raspberry. This is a tremendous tension breaker, and has the advantage of relaxing the recipient. Warning, though, some people are turned off by all forms of raspberries. To minimize damages, try to keep the raspberry short and moderately dry if this is a first time with a partner. The sensation produced isn't enormously erotic, but rather tickles pleasantly.

Never perform this manoeuvre on a woman in a bathing suit unless you have discussed it beforehand.

The pet belly raspberry should not be performed in public. However, there is no shame in secretly raspberrying a dog or rodent pet. Do not attempt on a cat, or a hamster, and especially not on birds. Most animals that enjoy a belly rub will enjoy the belly raspberry. (Pet rats really enjoy this.)

The comedy raspberry requires misdirection: pretend to be concerned about something on the surface of the belly (ie: "Hey, is that a papercut?") and go in for closer inspection. It is best to create an air of concern, as this creates an increase in tension, which increases the comic relief. Even if the recipient is a baby lacking comprehension of the situation, employ misdirection. (ie: "Oh oh, what happened to your belly button?")

To our knowledge and belief, the use of raspberry to signify the old intermittently plosive bilabial fricative, that is to say, the Bronx cheer, is the only example of chivvy (or Cockney rhyming slang) in common usage in American English.

E. Cobham Brewer tells us that raspberry means the heart in chivvy on the logic that heart rhymes with raspberry tart. So it does. And of course, your wily Cockney syncopates the tart part.

Raspberry tart also rhymes with something both ruder and more apt, something that blowing the raspberry is or was originally meant to imitate. What is interesting about this is that the term has fossilized: the euphemism has survived without bringing its vulgar referent along with it.

Well, fart on that, we say.

Rasp"ber*ry , [From E. rasp, in allusion to the apparent roughness of the fruit.] Bot. (a)

The thimble-shaped fruit of the Rubus Idaeus and other similar brambles; as, the black, the red and the white raspberry.


The shrub bearing this fruit.

⇒ Technically, raspberries are those brambles in which the fruit separates readily from the core or receptacle, in this differing from the blackberries, in which the fruit is firmly attached to the receptacle.


© Webster 1913.

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