If you have ever found some white spots on your raspberries that look more like a blemish in the fruit than mold, you might be wondering what to do. Nobody wants to throw away perfectly good raspberries, but you also don’t want to get sick from eating them!
White spots on raspberries may be caused by excessive heat or sunlight, and possibly under-watering. Raspberries affected by any of these conditions are generally safe to consume, although their flavor may be slightly affected. White, fluffy mold means that the raspberry needs to be discarded.
In this article, we’re going to cover whether raspberries with white patches are safe to eat, what causes the white patches, and when a raspberry needs to be thrown away.
Why Do Raspberries Develop White Spots?
White spots on raspberries never look appetizing, as these fruits are known for being bright red (with some yellow varieties). If you’ve bought a punnet of raspberries or you’ve been picking raspberries in your garden, you might find that some have white spots, which can be pretty alarming.
However, it isn’t necessarily a sign that the raspberries are no longer okay to consume. White spots on the raspberries could be caused by:
- Too much sunlight
- Too much heat
- Insufficient watering
- Certain pests
It isn’t fully understood exactly how these things affect raspberries, but many people notice that raspberries that are grown in full sunlight start to get white patches on the parts of the fruit that face the sun. It’s likely that the sun is scorching the tissues, damaging them, and resulting in white discoloration. They should still be safe to eat.
It is thought that hot weather can also cause this whitening, as some raspberries turn white even if they are shaded from the sun. If the temperatures get excessive, it’s possible that the plant can’t transport nutrients through its fruits sufficiently. A lack of water may exacerbate this issue, so making sure that raspberries have enough to drink might help.
What Pests Attack Raspberries?
Various pests can attack raspberry plants, with stink bugs being particularly problematic. These insects have sharp mouth parts that they insert into the fruit. They can then suck out the juices, and this leaves a white patch beneath the skin of the fruit. These white patches will be more randomly scattered than sun-scalded areas.
Red mites could be a further cause of white drupelets, with the insects damaging the flesh and sucking out the juices. These are tiny and can infest your raspberry plants, wreaking a surprising amount of havoc on the fruits. You may not even notice them until they have done some significant damage to the plant.
In either case, the damage will spread inside the raspberry itself, leaving an affected area where the drupelets are all white. Fortunately, this fruit should still be okay to eat, as neither red mites nor stink bugs are harmful to humans. It doesn’t look particularly pretty, but you can still safely consume it.
What About Powdery Mildew?
You may be familiar with a disease known as powdery mildew, and this can sometimes affect raspberries, although it is more common in plants with large leaves, such as squashes. It tends to occur when the weather is particularly wet, and it will usually affect the plant’s leaves as well as the berries.
If your raspberries get powdery mildew, they will turn mushy and tend to have a gray powder over them. This can look white, but it’s not as white as sun scalding or insect damage.
You should avoid eating raspberries that have been affected by powdery mildew, as this is a fungal infection that may not be good for you. Additionally, the soggy berries may have been contaminated by other unsafe bacteria. Discard all raspberries that have been affected by powdery mildew.
How Do You Tell If White Patches Are Mold?
If you aren’t sure whether your raspberries have gone moldy, the best thing to do is to put them on a plate and inspect them closely. Both sun scorching and insect damage will result in drupelets that are still firm and round – they will just be white instead of red.
By contrast, mold will result in drupelets that are mushy and wet, and they may feel slimy to the touch. Mold will also appear on the surface of the raspberry, rather than as a part of its skin. You should be able to brush at mold with your finger and change the shape and appearance, and possibly get some residue on your skin.
Sun scorching and insect damage will not brush off the raspberry, and will feel like part of the fruit. They should not affect the fruit’s texture, so it should be fairly easy to tell the two apart.
If your raspberries have gone moldy, you cannot eat them. They will contain bacteria and fungi that could be dangerous for you to consume, and they need to be discarded. They can be safely composted without worrying about affecting future plants, but you should not eat them.
Can You Prevent White Spot From Occurring?
A lot of people accept that white spot is a normal part of growing raspberries, and that most end-of-season fruits will be affected by this problem, especially if the raspberries are grown in a sunny spot.
However, you may be able to reduce the damage caused by white spot by shielding your raspberries from the strongest sunlight, and making sure that they have plenty of water on hot days. Some people choose to grow their raspberries in shadier areas, which may reduce the appearance of this blemish.
There are no cures for white spot, so if it has occurred on your fruits, you can either throw them away or eat them with the white spots.
White spots on a raspberry may not look particularly appetizing, but they are usually not a major issue. Check that your raspberry is not moldy, and then you can safely consume the fruits just as you would normally do.