Blackberries are part of the rose family along with raspberries and strawberries and are found growing wild on every continent except Antarctica! Several types of “blackberries” exist.

True blackberries are known as bramble fruits and grow on an erect bush; dewberries, which closely resemble blackberries, grow on trailing vines that run along the ground.  Dewberries are usually smaller and tend to be tarter than blackberries. Another fruit that is sometimes confused with the blackberry is the black raspberry.  The distinguishing feature of the black raspberry is that when picked the stem separates from the fruit.

Blackberries are a superfood with beneficial vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients.   Whether from your backyard, you pick farm, market, or grocery store – blackberries should be enjoyed while in season.

Peak Time:  June to September

Average Price:   $2.89-2.99 per 1/2 pint in the grocery store / $3.00 per quart at you pick farms

Tips for Selection and StorageChoose blackberries that are firm, plump, without caps, and deep in purple color.  Avoid blackberries with any signs of red as they are often sour.  Also avoid blackberries that are soft or show any signs of mold.  Another indicator of spoilage in blackberries that are packaged is any sign of seepage or discoloration on the bottom of the box.

Tips for Preparation:  Blackberries are great right off the bush or added to cereal, salads, ice cream, and much more.  Cooked blackberries are often used in sauces, tarts, pies, cobblers, muffins, cakes, and jams/jellies.  When you bring home blackberries, place them in a larger container with paper towels on the bottom, between layers, and on top.  They can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator. Wash berries only as you use them.   

Nutritional Highlights:  Blackberries are an especially excellent source of vitamin C providing half of the daily recommended intake in 1/2 cup. Blackberries are rich in beta carotene that converts to vitamin A.  They are high in dietary fiber with almost 8 grams per cup.  This includes both soluble and insoluble fiber that add a wealth of health benefits.  They are also good sources of vitamin K, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. As if this were not enough to impress, blackberries are powerful sources of several phytonutrients in addition to beta carotene including anthocyanins contained in red, purple, and blue foods as well as flavonoids and tannins. These nutrients and phytonutrients give blackberries anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-microbial properties.  They are also considered pre-biotics that feed the good bacteria in the GI tract.  All of this nutrient density is packed into  berries with only 62 kcalories per cup.  That is a good deal my friend.

For a recipe for blackberry cheesecake bars, click here.