Black or purplish black in color, blackberries are unique members of the berry family. If eaten fresh at room temperature they are simply delicious. Blackberries, which are known since ancient times, are in a class all their own. They have even been mentioned in the Holy Bible.
A blackberry is the largest among wild berries. Scientifically it is identified as Rubus fruticosus of family Rosaceae.
Blackberry plants are dense shrubs, bearing fruits on brambles. Fruits are 1-1.5 inches long, black or dark purple, firm with a very sweet or tart juice. Small seeds remain embedded inside the flesh of the fruit. Blackberries are red and hard when immature but become smooth and juicy when ripe.
Blackberries are generally grown on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains and the western side of the Pacific Ocean. They are vastly cultivated in prairies and woodlands of the coast and mid-mountains.
According to their origins, blackberries can be classified as:
- Himalayan Blackberries – originated in the Himalayan Mountain areas of Asia
- Evergreen Blackberries – originated in Englans, thorny in nature
- Wild Blackberries – origin is perhaps the Northwest Pacific region
Blackberries are widely cultivated in the US and are usually available at market from May to August.
A ripe blackberry is easily identified from its strong aroma. Fresh blackberries should be eaten immediately and the fruits need prior washing.
Blackberries are quite dynamic in helping resist diseases. Their nutritional values are also quite enviable. One-cup of blackberries (approx. 140 gram) contain only 75 calories. Amazing!
A blackberry is a good source of foliate and fiber. It is also rich in minerals such as manganese and tannins. Blackberries are considered as an astringent because of their high tannin content.
Also, a blackberry contains a number of antioxidants like vitamin C and E, which help provide protection against cancer and other chronic diseases.
A blackberry is best eaten fresh. However, they can also be used in preparing jam, jellies, ice cream, cakes and pies. A valuable aspect of eating blackberries is that cooking doesn’t reduce their nutritional value.