Nutritional Value in Unripe Rasberries or Other Berries
June 15, 2014 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Is there any nutritional value in unripe berries, such as raspberries or blackberries? Is there any negative health consequences for consuming any unripe berries?

I recently had a couple raspberry branches disassemble from the main bush on accident. Hate to let them go to waste if there is positive nutritional value in them, even if negligible. I'd just toss them into my morning smoothie. However, if there is negative nutritional value, even if negligible, I'll probably just toss them.
posted by purefusion to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Calories are calories. Berries don't stop having calories, or get more calories, based on their ripeness.

I'm almost certain there would be no nutritional difference in eating underripe berries, at least in a nutrient sense. Too many underripe berries might make you feel sick, though.

If the berries are completely underripe (like still green), I wouldn't use them in a smoothie because they'll taste bad.
posted by Sara C. at 5:58 PM on June 15, 2014

The New York Times answered a similar question a couple of years ago. It sounds like there's significantly less nutritional value to underripe fruit, but it sounds like there is probably still some nutritional value. I agree that too many might make you sick, though.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:21 PM on June 15, 2014

Calories are calories. Berries don't stop having calories, or get more calories, based on their ripeness.
That seems.. counterintuitive to me.

Berries are parts of living plants and are undergoing all kinds of development and changes as they ripen. The difference in sweetness between ripe and unripe berries suggest that at the least there are still sugars being constructed as they progress.
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:42 PM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]

In my experience with unripe blackberries, they are fine to eat, if a little sour. If you ate a whole pint basket of unripe berries, you may experience some gastric distress, but a minimally -laden branch shouldn't do much.

Ripe fruit has more sugar than unripe fruit, hence why it's sweeter. Therefore ripe fruit has more calories. Frozen ripe fruit is often the most vitamin/nutrient dense because it's picked at the peak of ripeness and delivered to you in that state, so it probably follows that unripe fruit is missing some of the vitamins you'd get in fully grown fruit. I think you should eat it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:48 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

if you're looking for ways to use these, i hear pickled unripe strawberries are big with foodie types these days, and i bet the same idea would work deliciously for your raspberries.
posted by tealsocks at 9:11 PM on June 15, 2014

I would think you might have some problems getting the fruit off of the torus (the little bit left on the plant after picking the raspberry) and I think that would be tough and not as nice to eat. If you can separate them though I say go for it. I think I might try to make a small batch of those unripe strawberry pickle as it seems like there is a nice glut of strawberries this year. (I also contend that a glut of soft fruit is impossible as you would just make jam but those pickled things sound like it is worth a try.)
posted by koolkat at 2:41 AM on June 16, 2014

Response by poster: Not too concerned with taste, as there are worse tasting things that have gone into my smoothies. ;)
posted by purefusion at 5:13 AM on June 16, 2014

A lot of unripe fruits contain a lot more starch than their ripe counterparts. We don't usually eat large quantities of uncooked starch, because it's hard to digest - it might actually have the same number of calories as the ripe fruit, but it's in the form of starch instead of sugar. If you use a lot of unripe berries, it could give you an upset stomach.
posted by mskyle at 7:50 AM on June 16, 2014

I don't think that the torus would taste like much of anything. I was more thinking that it could be quite fibrous and leave a bad lexture in your smoothie. I once tried to make a soup with leeks that had gone to flower. I cut up the flower stem nice and small (approx 0.5 cm slices) and sauteed it along with the rest of the leek (the core of the stem runs right down to the roots). I then added in the rest of the ingredients needed for leek and potato soup and blended it with an immersion blender. The flavour of the soup was great, but the flower stems left a fibrous mess that just had the completely wrong mouthfeel for a soup. I managed to strain out two bowls to have for lunch, but ended up throwing the rest away. The torus could be like that or it could be similar to the ones in blackberry where you can eat the entire thing. I'm not sure but it would be something to consider.
posted by koolkat at 8:17 AM on June 16, 2014

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