She wore a Raspberry Beret…

You probably don’t know why I titled this post the way I did, but 0.0001 extra credit points if you can tell me the name of the musical artist responsible for the song.

Raspberry fruit

The whole fruit and nothing but the fruit!

As many of you know, I like to spend time cooking and preparing food.  You could say it’s one of my favorite hobbies–outside of doing science, of course.  Yesterday, Mrs. M bought some fresh raspberries from Manor for us to eat.  They were nearly perfect…tart and sweet, soft but not mushy…juicy…deep red in color.  Between the two of us, we ate almost the entire container in just 15 minutes.  As I was eating them, however, I happened to notice small structures sticking out from each of the little, round portions of the fruit.  At first I thought the fruits had some sort of dust or ‘fuzz’ on them, but then I saw that these little skinny structures were on every raspberry.

Raspberry Close-Up

The mystery structure…can you name it?

You can see what I saw in the picture to the right.  In all the times you’ve eaten raspberries, have you ever noticed these things?  It got me thinking: What were these tiny little hair-like structures coming out of each of the circular parts of the fruit?  This made yet another question come to mind: Exactly what were these small round red structures that together form the thing we call a ‘raspberry’?  Can these structures explain the hard objects that always get stuck in my teeth when I eat them?

And then I remembered that my 7th and 8th grade students were growing flowering plants, and that their Brassica rapa plants were producing fruits of their own–in the form of seed or ‘bean’ pods.  As I sat eating delicious raspberries on my couch, I wondered if any of my knowledgeable TASIS students could tell me exactly what all of these different mystery structures are…(and one more thing, why did these berries taste kind of sweet?)

About DocBretto

DocBretto has a PhD in science education and specializes in radicalizing student curiosity, performing intellectual sorcery, and inventing alternative futures for science education via the Dark Arts.
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