Saturday, June 24, 2017

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--An Albino-ish Fruit, and Another Grand Experiment

     While shopping for various berries recently, I saw something new.  They were called "sunrise raspberries."  Their price was about the same as their red cousins, or about $2.50 for a dry pint (about 550 grams).
     Raspberries are a very common fruit across the world.  They are grown pretty much anywhere that has a temperate climate.  Russia, Poland, the U.S., Serbia, and Mexico are the biggest producers.  Perhaps because of this ubiquitousness, the websites I checked weren't entirely sure where the first raspberries were grown.  Turkey is one theory, but evidently parts of North America may have been a birthplace, too, at least for some strains.  Raspberries come in four basic colors--red, black, purple, and yellow.  The latter, usually called golden raspberries, are a naturally occurring variant of the red and black kinds that lack pigment due to a recessive gene.  So while they're not technically "albino," as the term means in animals and humans, the effect is akin to it, at least visually.  The ones I got, "sunrise" or "sunshine" raspberries, are then a hybrid of these golden raspberries and the red ones.  Other raspberry hybrids include the boysenberry and the loganberry (see March 30, 2013 post for more information).  Also, the sunrise/sunshine raspberries were trademarked in 2009, so bear that in mind if you want to start growing and marketing them, lest you get sued.  Pick some other name, such as "champagne raspberries," or "just plain yellowish raspberries."
     I found some of the statements I read about sunrise/sunshine raspberries to be interesting.  One website claimed that these are sweeter, and less tart than red raspberries, and their taste has peach and apricot notes.  The same site claimed they had, "a stunning and unique jewel like appearance."  But another site said that, "despite appearances, they resemble red or black raspberries in flavor."
     There have been several occasions when I've wondered whether I could tell a particular food or beverage apart from other similar ones, such as vegetarian "moctopus" from actual, real octopus.  Back in my post about Mexican soft drinks (see the August 18, 2013 entry), I tested one of these.  I decided to try this again.  Basically, I had someone hand me 10 raspberries, one at a time, which I took and ate without looking at it.  I then wrote down my guess on whether it was a sunrise raspberry or a red one.  At least 2 or 3 of each kind had to be offered, but in a random order.  Then I compared my guesses to the actual list.  This is clearly not a proper clinical, double blind experiment, but I think it is sufficient for a casual observation on a fun little blog post.  Anyway, I guessed correctly 6 out of 10 times, or 60%.  Or about 50-50, for this very small sample size.  Therefore, my results suggest that I don't agree with the website's claim that the two kinds have very distinctive flavors.  Also, and this is even more subjective, but I don't find the sunrise raspberry to have a pleasing appearance.  To me they look pale and sickly, with their pinkish--yellow hue.  They remind me of the character "Gollum" from the "Hobbit/Lord of the Rings" movies, or those poor fish whose ancestors went into cave lakes or rivers and are now colorless and blind.
     Not to say that the sunrise raspberries are bad.  I find red raspberries okay--they're not my favorite kind of berry, but they're not gross or anything.  So, in conclusion, if you like red raspberries you'll probably also enjoy their paler, yellowish cousins. Maybe those with more sophisticated palates will even pick up on the alleged peach and apricot overtones in them.  I don't know if the black, purple, or pure golden raspberries have their distinctive tastes in their own right--I'll have to see if I can acquire and try them.


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