Blackberries: Wild and Sweet?>

Blackberries: Wild and Sweet

by Berkeley Wellness

Plump, sweet blackberries grow wild across most of North America. The blackberry is actually an ancient fruit, prescribed by the Greeks for gout, mentioned in the Bible, and written about in British folklore. Wild blackberries are relatives of the rose, and the soft, juicy fruit grows on thorny bushes or trailing vines. Like the raspberry, the blackberry is an “aggregate fruit,” so called because each berry is really a cluster of tiny fruits, or druplets. Each druplet has a seed, but unlike raspberries, blackberry druplets remain attached to the core even after the berry is picked.

Types of Blackberries

The blacker the color, the riper—and sweeter—the blackberry. Here's a quick look at the varieties you may see at stores or farmers' markets.

Blackberries: Nutrition

Low in calories and rich in flavor, blackberries are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, and they also contain folate and iron. Blackberries are a good source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that may help to lower cholesterol levels.

The plant pigments that give blackberries their dark purple color are a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins. Preliminary research indicates they may be beneficial to health, though nothing is proven. Blackberries also contain ellagic acid—a potent antioxidant in test tube studies—but, again, the benefits are as yet unproven in humans.

For a full listing of nutrients, see Blackberries in the National Nutrient Database.

How to Choose the Best Blackberries

Learn what to look for when you're shopping for blackberries.

How to store blackberries

Blackberries are among the most perishable of fruits. They can turn soft, mushy, and moldy within 24 hours. Blackberries are best used the same day that they are gathered or purchased. When you bring home a box of berries, turn it out and check the fruit. Remove soft, overripe berries for immediate consumption. Discard any smashed or moldy berries and gently blot the remainder dry with a paper towel. Place the berries in a shallow refrigerator container lined with paper towels.

How to use blackberries

Use fresh blackberries as soon as possible because they are highly perishable. Sort berries again before serving, discarding any stems and moldy or squished berries. Gently rinse the fruit, drain, and gently pat dry.

Although blackberries have a short season and are highly perishable, they freeze quite well, allowing you to enjoy them practically year round. You can buy prepackaged frozen berries, but these may have sweetener added. Individually quick-frozen (“IQF”) berries are a good choice if you can find them; they generally do not have added sweetener. Freezing berries yourself is simple. Place the berries in a single layer, slightly apart, on a cookie sheet. Place the berries in the freezer until they are solidly frozen, and then transfer them to an airtight container, label, and date.

6 Ways to Serve Blackberries

Fresh or frozen blackberries make wonderful desserts, and they can be used in sauces over meat. Here are six tempting ways to use blackberries.

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