Red, ripe and bursting with sweetly tart flavor, nothing says summer like raspberries, and for good reason - it's raspberry harvest time. While growing and nurturing this delicate fruit is a 12-month operation, the intense summer harvest season lasts only a few weeks. The best way to enjoy this summer sensation year-round is to head to the freezer aisle.

"Frozen raspberries are picked at their peak ripeness and are frozen within hours of harvest, often on the same farm as they were grown," says Tom Krugman, Executive Director of the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC). "Only the highest quality raspberries are selected for freezing, and the gentle preserving process maintains the fruit's integrity and flavor. Frozen raspberries can also be economical, especially where spoilage is concerned."

Freezing raspberries within hours after harvesting locks in their peak flavor and nutrition. Raspberries are nutritional powerhouses, boasting the most fiber and the lowest natural sugar content compared to other berries. One cup of frozen red raspberries has only 80 calories, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and provides nine grams of fiber. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, a powerful compound that may play a role in reducing inflammation associated with environmental stresses and chronic disease.

"The phytonutrients in red raspberries - including anthocyanins, procyanidins, flavonols and ellagic acid - may reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and protect against free-radical-induced cell damage, all of which are implicated in chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and declines in cognitive function," says Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., Director of Nutrition and Health Promoting Foods platform leader at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology and a Scientific Advisor to the NPRC.