/ Food & Drink

Black and gold raspberries – food isn’t about fashion

Yellow raspberries and blackberries

We’ve had tiger-striped tomatoes, purple French beans, golden beetroot, blue sweetcorn, blue potatoes, and now: black and golden yellow raspberries. Have you got an appetite for oddly coloured fruit?

‘Mac Blacks’ recently went on sale in Tesco. The retailer predicted that one day these black raspberries might be more popular than traditional reds – a month later they’re one of the supermarket’s best sellers.

Billing them as a so-called superfood and describing them as tasting like raspberry jam seems to have been a hit with shoppers.

Tesco’s now decided to follow them up with yellow ‘”champagne” raspberries – created due to the natural absence of red pigment. Again, these are said to be sweeter than their traditional red cousin, but will they tempt you?

Food’s about more than just looks

Of course, manipulating the colour of fruit and veg is nothing new – carrots were red or white until the 17th century, when the Dutch bred them to be orange in line with their national flag.

Unusually coloured fruit and veg are a novelty and fun to try, but as any grower or gourmet will tell you, there’s more to fruit and veg than looks.

Every year, Which? Gardening grows dozens of new fruit and veg varieties before the seeds go on sale to the public. A relatively small proportion of them will be given our coveted Best Buy status.

Appearance plays a part, but what our experts are really looking for is something that is really tasty, gives good yields and resists pests and diseases. Every year our experts find that some of the new varieties on sale don’t really offer much over old and established ones.

Taste, taste, taste

At the end of the day, a white carrot tastes like… well, a carrot. And a golden beetroot tastes like a beetroot. Purple French beans look attractive on the plant, but when cooked they turn a rather unpalatable shade of grey. Blue potatoes fade in colour when cooked.

Yellow courgettes, on the other hand, are less pappy then some green ones and hold their colour well when cooked – so personally I prefer them over the traditional green courgettes.

As for raspberries, we’ve grown them too, and done extensive taste tests with the public. Some varieties taste great and crop well; some don’t, regardless of their colour. If black or golden raspberries are to win over our hearts and minds in the future, they had better taste better than the best red ones…

Would you eat odd coloured fruit, like black raspberries?

Yes (68%, 311 Votes)

No (32%, 146 Votes)

Total Voters: 457

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Not for me thanks. Fruit and veg that are an unfamiliar colour but the same shape and size look wrong to me. Strange, because I am happy to try unfamiliar foods.

Tried some champagne raspberries the other week. A lot lighter in taste – the greek-style yoghurt we had with them almost overpowered them. Will probably stick to the traditional red.

pickle says:
19 August 2011

NO! What’s wrong with normal coloured food? We’ve lived on it for centuries – so why change?

My question is, what *is* normal coloured food? As Veronica says, carrots used to be white, not orange. Plus, these yellow raspberries are simply lacking red pigment, which has naturally occurred.

I expect much of the fruit n veg we buy on a daily basis aren’t natural. Strawberries, for example, were tiny – it was our ‘meddling’ that made them big and juicy.

Good point Patrick, but normal is what an individual is accustomed to. I assume that I associate unfamiliar colours with fruit & veg being unripe or spoiling.

I presume that carrots were made orange to help distinguish them from parsnips. 🙂

As Veronica says in her article, the Dutch wanted them to match their national flag.

For me – I love raspberries. They are my favourite fruit, no matter the colour! I’d like to try them all.

I bought some yellow raspberries over the weekend – not from Tesco (despite looking in three) I found them in Waitrose. They happened to be cheaper than the red ones, but they tasted… exactly the same, if a little less sweeter (which I put down the under ripeness).

However, I think having the red, black and yellow on a Pavlova or cheesecake would look amazing with those different colours. I hope to try it out soon…

Chris Gardner says:
22 August 2011

I bought blue potatoes on one occasion, but I did not enjoy the taste either boiled, mashed or roasted. They had a more “granular” texture than other potatoes. I won’t buy blue potatoes again. However, I’m open to new tastes and experiences and would try any other oddly coloured fruit/vegetable. If I like it, I shall buy more, if not – there’s plenty of traditional fruit/vegetable.

Now purple and yellow carrots are going on sale in Tesco – the picture on this piece shows how attractive multicoloured veg can (and used to be) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2044695/Purple-carrots-sale-Tesco-supermarket-Orange-year.html

I have been presented with a pack of Waitrose purple carrots, reduced from £1.60 to 10p. They don’t look very appealing and I am not surprised that they did not sell at full price. I am reassured by the fact that they have a bright orange core and the fact that they taste like – carrots. I can see that they could be an interesting novelty but I think I will stick with familiar orange carrots in future.

What is more interesting is the history of carrots and the reasons why various different colours can be grown.