- Fiber, anyone? One cup of blackberries, or 140 grams, is enough to give you at least a fifth of your Daily Value of dietary fiber!
- Blackberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that helps keep cells healthy by protecting them from oxidation. One cup of these berries delivers nearly half of the vitamin C you need in a day.
In the U.S., blackberries have grown wild since time immemorial. European settlers ate them fresh, dried or preserved, taking their cue from Native Americans. Today, Oregon is the world's leading grower of blackberries, selling 56 million pounds of them every year. Did You Know?: Compared to raspberries, blackberries are larger, darker and a hardier crop. However, they are also occasionally confused with black raspberries, which are a cross between the two.
There are many different kinds of blackberry plant, but they all yield pretty much the same berry. Where they differ, then, is in whether the blackberries grow on brambles that are spiny or smooth; whether they are upright or creeping plants; and what time of year their fruits ripen.
When are Blackberries in Season?
They peak during the summer months and into early autumn. However, blackberries can be grown in greenhouses, making them available all year long.
How to Choose Blackberries
Most blackberries are sold in the fresh produce section, usually pre-packaged in unsealed plastic boxes. Look for berries that are black and shiny, with no damage or wrinkling. Avoid blackberries that are reddish (since they're unripe) or moist (because these will go bad much faster).
How to Store Blackberries
Your blackberries will go into the fruit drawer of your refrigerator, though you should keep a few things in mind before popping them in there. First, consider immediately eating any soft or overripe berries, since these will spoil very shortly. Second, it may help to pat your berries dry with a paper towel before storing them, to eliminate moisture. You can even line the box with paper towels as a way to keep blackberries fresher longer. Also, for a summer treat, place dry, unwashed berries on a pan and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, you can store them in a zip-seal bag or container. These little frozen delights will last for up to a year, and their icy tartness make the hot summer months more bearable.
How to Cook with Blackberries
To begin, toss out any overripe berries. Then rinse the remainder under cold tap water, and pat them dry with a paper towel. Most fruit salads and dessert dishes call for whole blackberries, but occasionally a muffin or pancake mix may require bigger berries to be sliced into halves or quarters. Keep in mind that the sweet blackberry juice usually makes streaks in batter, so add them last when making muffins. If you're making pancakes on the griddle, pour the batter first, then drop the blackberries into it. This will make your flapjacks prettier and easier to flip. Frozen blackberries work well in pancakes, but be sure to cook them long enough to defrost the berries.
Nearly all recipes call for blackberries in cups.
This is an easy one. You can try raspberries instead, or go for one of the many blackberry hybrids, like black raspberries, boysenberries, ollalieberries, marionberries and loganberries.
Blackberries in Recipes
Healthified Berry Shortcake and Low-Fat Flan are two desserts that take much of their sweetness from fresh blackberries.
And for a main course that blends savory protein with tart fruit, make these Healthified Lamb Chops with Blackberry-Red Wine Sauce. They look so gorgeous on a plate, and taste great paired with a red wine.