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Everything You Needed to Know About Blackberries

Everything You Needed to Know About Blackberries

Blackberries are the largest wild berries available, as they can grow to be up to 2.5 cm long. They are dark purple to purplish-black in colour, and have a deep sweet-tart flavour.

Traditionally, a blackberry has also been called a bramble because they grow on thorny bushes called brambles.

Blackberry Varieties

Cultivated blackberries are normally more than 3 cm long and around 2.5 cm or more in diameter. They have a sweet-tart flavour, and are usually very juicy.

Wild blackberries are characterized by their smaller size. They are less than 3 cm long and less than 2cm in diameter. They tend to have a more tart flavour, and are sometimes described as “crunchy” because they have less juice around their seeds.

How to Select and Store Blackberries

Look for plump, shiny, deep-coloured berries that don’t have the hull attached. If the hulls are attached, it’s a sign that the blackberries were picked too early and they will be very sour. Avoiding buying berries with dents, bruises or mould.

As with all berries, it’s best to use blackberries soon after purchasing them. However, they can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. Simply lay unwashed berries in a single layer on paper towel. It’s important not to wash the berries before refrigerating, as this can cause them to deteriorate quickly.

To Freeze Blackberries rinse under a slow stream of cool water (to avoid damaging the berry), and then allow to dry completely. Place the berries in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Freeze until firm., then place the berries into a freezer-safe plastic bag and remove excess air. Frozen blackberries can last up to 8 months in the freezer.

Rinse blackberries gently under cool water before using. Pat dry and enjoy as-is, or add to your favourite recipe.

Blackberry Tips

  • Before storing, remove any crushed or mouldy berries to prevent the rest from spoiling.
  • When shopping in the store, give the container of fresh berries a shake to see whether they move freely.  If they don’t, this may be a sign that they are overly soft, damaged or mouldy.
  • As with all berries, blackberries do not ripen once picked, so be sure to purchase ripe berries.
  • Don’t store berries in plastic, as this traps the moisture and causes them to spoil quickly.
  • Don’t wash your berries before storing, as this can make them spoil faster.

Blackberries go well with

Fruits and Veggies: apricot, strawberry, blueberry, fig, plum, cherry, lemon, peach, shallot, garlic, thyme

Herbs & Spices: sugar, vanilla, basil, bay leaf, mint

Savoury: pork, chicken

Other: yogurt, maple syrup, white-wine vinegar, honey, white chocolate, cream, hazelnut, almond, pistachio, mascarpone cheese, fontina cheese, pastry dough, balsamic vinegar

Serving Ideas

Blackberries are delicious on their own, but they can also be added to a variety of sweet and savoury dishes! Try pouring a small amount of maple syrup over freshly washed berries and service with a splash of fresh cream.

You can also purée the berries, strain them through a sieve, and heat on your stovetop with a bit of sugar. This makes a delicious sauce for ice cream, pancakes and waffles.

Try making a blackberry wine sauce for chicken or pork, or make vinaigrette with crushed blackberries for a spinach salad.

Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 100 grams of raw blackberries contain a great number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 35% of Vitamin C, 25% of Vitamin K, 21% fibre, 11% of folate, 8% of magnesium, 6% of zinc, and 5% of potassium. It is also a source of lutein, an antioxidant that is reported to be beneficial for maintaining good eyesight.

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